[PARIS] French manufacturing activity contracted for the third straight month in May, although not as sharply as in April, as another round of price cuts failed to prop up sales, a survey showed on Wednesday.
Data compiler Markit said its final purchasing managers' index rose to 48.4 in May from 48.0 in April.
That was slightly higher than a preliminary reading of 48.3 but remained below the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.
"French manufacturers continued to face a difficult operating environment in May, with output and employment falling at sharper rates," Markit economist Jack Kennedy said.
"Soft demand conditions continue to hold back new order intakes, leading manufacturers to cut their output prices further in a bid to stimulate sales," he added.
New orders and export orders declined for the fifth consecutive month, while staffing levels fell for the third month in a row.