[PARIS] French service sector and manufacturing activity was weaker than expected this month as concerns about Greece weighed on fragile business confidence in the eurozone's second-biggest economy, a poll showed on Friday.
Data compiler Markit said its preliminary purchasing managers index for the service and manufacturing sectors slipped to 51.5 from 53.3 in June, edging closer to the 50-point threshold dividing an expansion in activity from a contraction. "It doesn't take much to dent business prospects in France,"Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said, adding that firms remained deeply concerned about their competitiveness, the political climate and the pace of reforms. "There is a whole host of reasons that companies are citing for why they are downbeat about the year ahead and obviously Greece is just compounding all of those," he added.
Markit's services sector PMI index fell to 52.0 from 54.1 in June, falling short of economists' average forecast in a Reuters poll for a reading of 53.8.
The index for the manufacturing sector slipped back into contraction with a reading of 49.6 after registering 50.7 in June. Economists had forecast on average 50.7.
Both sectors saw sharp drops in new order inflows while business expectations in the service sector fell to their lowest level since December 2014.