Sunday, March 24, 2013


'France has so far dodged the "problem child" reputations that Spain and Italy have earned. But it looks like that will be increasingly hard to keep up. Data today on France's business output hinted not just that its economy is decaying—but that it's doing so rapidly.


Markit's preliminary March purchasing managers' index—which measures monthly changes in private-sector output—came in at 42.1 (pdf), down from 43.1 in February. (Anything lower than 50 reflects a drop in output.) That's the fastest slowdown in business activity France has seen since March 2009. And Jack Kennedy, economist at Markit, says this likely augurs a larger crumbling of the French economy.


"My take is it's really a continuation of the sharp weakening pattern we've seen in recent months—so very much a trend rather than a blip," Kennedy tells Quartz. "Most of the anecdotal feedback from the survey panel points to a general lack of confidence and clients reining in spending accordingly."


To frame it in another horrifying perspective, the PMI of the euro zone's second-largest economy was lower than that of Spain and Italy—and almost down to Greek levels (video), as Reuters' Jamie McGeever explains.'


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