France is back in business

France’s businesses are reporting the best conditions in nearly four years. Is Europe’s second biggest economy finally starting to benefit from the cyclical recovery?

Markit’s composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reading hit 53.4, well above the neutral 50 level, and the highest in the last 46 months.

The PMI for services alone was strongest, at 54.1. And although manufacturing came in just above 50 at 50.5, it’s the first time it’s been in positive territory in more than a year. Maybe the best sign was in employment, which the survey suggests is finally starting to firm up. That will go some way to tackling the country’s chronically high unemployment rates:

For now, it’s just the flash PMI, so we’ll only get France and Germany’s figures today.

Germany’s figures came in better than expected too — with a composite PMI of 54 (services hit 54.2 and manufacturing hit 51.9). That’s a two-month high, up from 52.6 in May.

Stay tuned for the Europe-wide figure, which is out at 9 a.m. London time (4 a.m. New York).

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