NTC Economics reported on Monday that the French manufacturing purchasing managers' index came in at 51.5 in May, up from both the expected 51.3 reading and the previous month's 51.1 level.
However, new orders, suppliers' delivery times, stock of purchases and quantity of purchases were the only categories which saw improvements in May, rising to 51.2, 45.7, 49.2 and 51.3 from 48.6, 43.9, 47.5 and 50.4 respectively.
"Although there were signs of firmer domestic demand, with new orders rebounding modestly following April's decline, exports remained a drag on order books as the strong euro and soft demand in the US and elsewhere continued to weigh on foreign sales," economist Jack Kennedy at NTC Economics said in a press release.
Kennedy concluded that the manufacturing sector would not contribute significantly to French economic growth in the second quarter of 2008 and that the jump seen in Q1 will not be seen in the following quarter.
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