PARIS, Nov 23 (Reuters) – French business activity expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in November, initial estimates in a monthly survey show, as the services sector of the euro zone’s second-biggest economy saw its fastest growth in almost four years.

Data compiler IHS Markit said on Tuesday that its flash purchasing managers index (PMI) for the French services sector in November came in at 58.2 points, up from 56.6 in October.

The reading for the services sector beat a forecast for 56.0 points, and moved the index further above the 50-point threshold which marks an expansion in activity.

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The flash PMI for the French manufacturing sector in November rose to 54.6 points, from 53.6 in October, also beating a forecast for 53.0 points.

The flash composite PMI index for November, which includes both the services and manufacturing sectors, rose to 56.3 points from 54.7 in October, beating a forecast for 53.6 points.

France’s services industries benefited from new client contracts and higher workloads from existing customers, added IHS Markit, although supply-chain disruptions persisted.

“Having embarked on a clear period of slowing growth in the months leading up to October, the flash PMI data for November showed a fresh acceleration in French economic expansion,” said IHS Markit senior economist Joe Hayes.

“However, the driving force behind improvements in the data is services. Manufacturers are still struggling with component shortages, long lead times and subdued demand conditions,” added Hayes.

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Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Susan Fenton

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