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French business activity expanded in September to a 20-month high in September, according to final survey data released on Thursday, an indication that recovery may be picking up steam.
Markit said its composite Purchasing Managers Index for France came in at 50.5 percent, above the 50 point level that indicates growth.
The index, based on surveys of businesses, is a seen as reliable indicator of current and future activity, had shown that the French business sector was still contracting in August with a 48.8 reading.
France emerged from a six-month recession in the second quarter with 0.5-percent growth of gross domestic product, but analysts pointed out that much of that was due to increased energy use because of unseasonably cold weather and there have been concerns that the economy would stumble.
"A return to growth of incoming new business, coupled with positive expectations among firms regarding future activity levels suggests that the recovery is moving onto a more stable footing, albeit remaining fragile at present," said Jack Kennedy, the Markit Economist who compiled the French report.
New business orders rose for the first time since September 2012, and the backlog in work increased for the first time for 21 months.
On balance, French businesses had a positive outlook for activity for the coming year.