French manufacturing contraction not as deep as forecast in Dec - final PMI

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PARIS, Jan 2 (Reuters) - France's manufacturing sector contracted less than first thought in December, a survey showed on Monday, even though inflationary pressures continued to weigh on the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

S&P Global's final December purchasing managers index (PMI) came in at 49.2 points, just below the 50 mark that denotes growth in activity.

The final December reading was nevertheless above the December flash PMI figure of 48.9. It also marked a recovery from November's final reading of 48.3.

"France's manufacturing downturn continued into December as the effects of inflation, slowing economic activity and high energy costs weighed on the performance of the sector," said S&P Global Market Intelligence senior economist Joe Hayes.

"However, the strength of the downturn continued to ease, with output and new orders falling at their slowest rates since May and June respectively. An improvement in business confidence also provides tentative signs that the industrial sector recession may not be as severe as first feared," he added.

France's official INSEE statistics body had said on Dec. 15 that it expected the French economy to contract by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2022 from the previous quarter.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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