PARIS (Reuters) – Growth in French business activity eased in August compared to July, according to initial forecasts in a monthly survey, as problems with supplies of goods and COVID-19 health protocols impacted trade.
Data compiler IHS Markit said its preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for France’s dominant services sector fell to 56.4 points in August from 56.8 in July — below a forecast for an August reading of 57.0 points.
The August preliminary manufacturing PMI also fell to 57.3 points from 58.0 in July, below a forecast for 57.8 points.
The overall August preliminary composite PMI fell to 55.9 points from 56.6 in July, although overall the PMI figures remained above the 50-point threshold dividing an expansion in activity from a contraction.
Problems with global shipping and transport have resulted in supply chain issues for many companies around the world.
Several Chinese ports are facing congestion as vessels due to call at Ningbo are being diverted and cargo processing is slowed, partly due to stricter disinfection measures under China’s “zero-tolerance” coronavirus policy.
Some French businesses are also struggling with rules requiring customers to hold a COVID-19 health pass to eat or drink in a restaurant or enter a shop.
“Another strong month of growth across France was signalled by the flash PMI figure for August,” said IHS Markit senior economist Joe Hayes.
“There are, however, factors holding back growth to some extent. On top of the heavy supply chain issues, some survey respondents noted that there had been some adverse consequences on new business due to the ‘pass sanitaire’, requiring proof of a double vaccination or low risk of carrying COVID-19 infection,” added Hayes.
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