[PARIS] French manufacturing activity slowed further in August as weak demand weighed on new orders, a survey showed on Thursday.
Data compiler Markit said its final purchasing managers'index fell to 48.3 in August from 48.6 in July, below a preliminary reading of 48.5.
It also marked the sixth month in a row the index remained below the 50-point line dividing expansion from contraction.
Markit said that manufacturers kept output steady in August, but the flow of new orders fell for the eighth consecutive month and the pace of decline picked up to the fastest since April.
"Although output stabilised, this looks likely to be a pause given the persistently fragile demand climate," Markit economist Jack Kennedy said.
"Faster declines in employment, stocks of purchases and output prices also attest to a challenging operating environment," he added.
The manufacturing data adds to a string of recent figures suggesting the French economy is struggling to pick up steam after stalling in the second quarter.
In a sign of weak demand, household spending fell in July for the fourth month running, figures published on Wednesday by the INSEE official statistics agency showed.