PARIS (Reuters) - French manufacturing activity strengthened in December compared with November, helped by a rise in production, a monthly business survey showed on Monday.
Data compiler IHS Markit said its final purchasing managers' index rose to 51.1 points in December from 49.6 in November, matching an earlier flash estimate and moving the index above the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.
"December PMI data pointed to an improved performance in the French manufacturing sector, with business conditions rebounding after November's deterioration and output returning to growth territory," said IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr.
"Looking forward, the firms are very optimistic that output will continue to grow, with hopes that the available COVID-19 vaccines can restore some sort of normality to the world. For now, demand conditions remain subdued, but we expect a recovery to begin gathering pace in the second quarter of 2021," Kerr added.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Hugh Lawson)