French manufacturing slows slightly in November on new lockdown - PMI

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Employees of French carmaker Renault paint new Clio RS cars at the assembly line at Renault factory in Dieppe

PARIS (Reuters) - French manufacturing activity slowed only marginally in November as the country was put back under a nationwide coronavirus lockdown last month, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Data compiler IHS Markit said its final Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.6 from 51.3 in October, slightly better than a preliminary reading of 49.1.

Nonetheless, the fall marked the first time in three months that the index had fallen through the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.

"Amid the reintroduction of lockdown restrictions across France, it was unsurprising to see a fresh deterioration in business conditions faced by manufacturers," IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr said.

"New orders dropped markedly in November, partially undermining the recovery seen in recent months. Moreover, output slipped back into contraction territory after five months of successive growth."

The government imposed its second lockdown this year on Oct. 30 to contain a resurgence in infection numbers, but last week relaxed some restrictions after case numbers fell.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Catherine Evans)