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French PMI Weakens

French PMI WeakensFrench PMI Weakens

French industrial morale weakened slightly in April compared to the previous month, data from state statistics body INSEE showed on Tuesday.

Morale in the industrial sector fell to 109 points in April, down from a revised figure of 110 points for March, although INSEE said it remained above its long-term average level of 100 points. A Reuters poll of 18 economists had given an average forecast of 110 points for the April industrial morale figure, Reuters reported.

Surveys measuring French economic and business morale have hit multi-year highs since President Emmanuel Macron’s election last year.

Data this week also showed that the French economy had been relatively resilient in the face of rolling strikes by railway workers who are protesting against Macron’s reform of state-owned rail company SNCF.

For the past month, French rail workers have been staging what they had hoped would be a massive strike of the kind that has previously brought the country to a standstill. Instead, the walkout has been blunted by deep changes to the nation’s economy, Bloomberg reported.

Searches on ride-sharing company BlaBlaCar’s app rise sixfold on strike days, according to the startup. At intercity bus line FlixBus, online bookings jump 60% when train employees are off the job. The increase is 90% on its most popular lines, from Paris to Lille, Lyon and Bordeaux, the Munich-based company said. The company has added about 40 extra vehicles to meet demand.

While France has a long history of paralyzing labor strife, such as protests over pension reform in 1995, the impact of this year’s walkout at SNCF, the national rail system, has been limited: More people are able to work from home thanks to fast internet connections, car sharing has grown in popularity, and Macron, when he was economy minister, liberalized the transport market to allow intercity bus service.

 

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