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[PARIS] France's private sector rebounded in February to expand at the fastest rate in more than three years, despite continued weakness in manufacturing, a survey showed on Wednesday.
Confirming a preliminary Feb 20 "flash estimate", business consultancy Markit's composite purchasing managers' index jumped to 52.2 from 49.3 in January. That was the highest reading since August 2011 and topped the 50-point line - denoting growth - for the first time since April of last year.
In the services sector, the PMI activity index was confirmed at 53.4, also the highest reading since August 2011, thanks to strong new business and business prospects.
"Business expectations in the French service sector remained positive in the latest survey period. Furthermore, the degree of positive sentiment strengthened to the highest for just under three years," Markit said.
The upbeat news came despite a downturn in the manufacturing sector that worsened in February, according to a separate Markit survey released on Monday.