Activity in France's dominant services sector remained weak in November as demand fell at its fastest pace in three years, a survey showed on Tuesday, adding to recession fears in the euro zone's second-biggest economy.
The HCOB France final purchasing managers index (PMI) for the services sector, compiled by S&P Global, stood at 45.4 points in November, almost on par with a flash estimate of 45.3 points and still well below the 50 level that marks growth. The index in October came in at 45.2 points.
A sub-index measuring new business intake slipped to 43.2 points, the worst reading since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020.
"French service companies are in a tight spot. Activity has fallen for the sixth month in a row, demand remains weak and input prices have once again risen at a rapid pace," said Hamburg Commercial Bank economist Norman Liebke.
Managers are particularly worried about sustained weak demand and tougher financing conditions next year, he added.
The final November composite PMI figure - which combines both the services and manufacturing sectors - stood at 44.6 points, slightly better than the 44.5 point flash estimate.
France's national statistics body last week revised the GDP growth rate for the third quarter down to -0.1%, but Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire reiterated he still believed the country will see some "positive growth" for the whole of 2023. (Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Susan Fenton)