Chinese Factories Slow Down in March

France’s private sector companies grew at their fastest pace in two and a half years in March, bucking forecasts for a further contraction, a survey says.

The preliminary estimate of Markit’s composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for France was 51.6 in March, up from February’s 47.9 reading and above the 50 level that indicates expansion.

It came as business growth in the eurozone slowed slightly last month.

The eurozone composite PMI for March was 53.2, just below February’s 53.3.

However, the eurozone’s economy has now grown for nine months in a row, according to Markit, and is set to expand by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2014.

The survey also found that employment had increased, albeit slightly, for the second month in a row.

“The recovery is gaining traction. One of the particularly encouraging signs policymakers will take from this is that it has broadened out to encompass France,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Economists had expected French private sector businesses to continue to contract in March.

via BBC

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza