France’s flash manufacturing PMI
According to data provided by Markit Economics, the flash Markit France manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) stood at 53.4 in March 2017 compared to 52.2 in February 2017. It meets the initial expectations of a reading of 52.4.
France’s March 2017 flash manufacturing PMI was in the expansion zone. A level above 50 indicates expansion in the economy, while anything below 50 indicates contraction.
January 2017’s manufacturing PMI showed a strong shift, which was the highest move since May 2011. However, February’s manufacturing PMI showed weaker improvement compared to January’s reading.
The improvement in France’s flash manufacturing PMI was mainly due to the following:
- Production volumes and output rose at a higher rate in March 2017 compared to February 2017.
- Export orders and new orders also rose at a higher rate in March 2017.
- Employment growth also showed modest improvement in March 2017.
Performance of various ETFs in March
The iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ), which tracks France’s performance, fell 4.1% between March 1–24, 2017. The Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK), which tracks Europe’s (IEV) (EZU) (HEDJ) economic performance, rose 2.3% during the same timeframe.
The strong improvement in manufacturing PMI is mainly due to the increase in both domestic demand and export orders. However, the uncertainty about the upcoming election in France is affecting the performances of the various Eurozone indexes.
In the next part of this series, we’ll analyze the manufacturing PMI for Germany in March 2017.