- The rate of expansion in the French private sector economy remains among the sharpest recorded since data were first available in May 1998, with the IHS Markit Flash France Composite Output Index posting 60.0, down only fractionally from 60.3 in November.

The expansion was broad-based across both the manufacturing and services sectors.

The rate of growth in manufacturing hit a near 17-and-a-half year high.

In contrast, the pace of increase at service providers moderated slightly from November, but remained marked nonetheless.

In line with the trend for output, December saw a further rise in new orders. The rate of increase was the most marked in over six-and-a-half years, driven by the sharpest expansion in the manufacturing sector since November 2010, with new export orders rising to the strongest degree for seven years.

Meanwhile, the rate of new order growth at service providers was unchanged from November.

Buoyed by a strong demand environment, private sector firms continued to take on additional workers in December, thereby extending the current period of job creation to 14 months.

A slight slowdown at service providers contrasted with an acceleration at manufacturers.

Latest data pointed to a further rise in input costs faced by French private sector companies (on average) during December. The rate of inflation eased slightly from November's near six-and-a-half year high but remained substantially greater than the post-2008 average. Where an increase was reported, panellists commented on higher prices for steel, aluminium, rubber and plastics. Softer increases in prices were evident at both manufacturers and service providers.

Meanwhile, higher input costs filtered through to a fourth consecutive rise in average selling prices.

French private sector companies maintained a strongly optimistic outlook towards their prospects for activity growth over the coming 12 months. Business confidence improved at both manufacturers and service providers.

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