PMI Day: France is finally getting back on track

France supporters cheeringCelso Sarmento/Getty ImagesFrance fans cheer prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria at Estadio Nacional on June 30, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.

It’s flash PMI day in Europe, meaning we’re getting an early estimate for growth in February.

The purchasing managers index (PMI) figures from Markit are given as a number between 0 and 100. Anything above 50 signals growth, while anything below means a contraction in activity — so the higher the better.

This morning we’ll get an early sign of how Germany and France are doing individually, alongside the eurozone as a whole. The numbers are the first growth figures to be released since ECB president Mario Draghi announced a cut in all of the bank’s key rates, as well as an extended programme of bond buying.

First up, France at 8:00 a.m GMT (4:00 a.m. ET). France’s economy actually saw a contraction in February, with the final composite figure reading just 49.3, with manufacturing sliding at 49.5, and the services sector slowing, with a reading of 49.2.

France’s flash reading for February came in as follows:

  • Manufacturing output: 50.8, up from 49.5 in February, and a three month high.
  • Services activity: 51.2, up from 49.2 in February, to a five month high.
  • Composite output: 51.1, another five month high and up from 49.3 in February.

Here’s what Jack Kennedy, one of Markit’s senior economists said:

The French private sector economy ended the first quarter on a more positive note, reversing the dip in output seen during February. The latest data showed broad-based output growth across the manufacturing and service sectors, alongside strengthening optimism among service providers.

Now that data from France is out we’ll get a reading from Germany at 8:30 a.m. GMT (4:30 a.m. ET) and the crucial eurozone figure at 9:00 a.m. GMT (5:00 a.m ET).

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