OECD forecast backs up France’s return to growth

France's return to a modest economic growth in 2013, was confirmed by optimistic forecasts released by the OECD on Tuesday. The Paris based organisation says France is heading for a 0.3 percent growth this year.

OECD forecast backs up France's return to growth
France's Finance Ministry will welcome the OECD forecast. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

France's economy got another boost on Tuesday, when the OECD released figures predicting 0.3 percent growth by the end of 2013. This comes after France's own statistics agency INSEE released figures last month showing the country's economy had surprisingly jumped out of recession.

As recently as this spring, both the OECD itself, as well as the European Commission, forecast stagnant growth of merely 0.1 percent this year.

The surprise return to growth was largely thanks to improved domestic consumption, the national statistics agency INSEE said.

The positive figures from INSEE were welcomed by French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici who said the date "confirms the end of the recession in the French economy".

"It amplifies the encouraging signs of recovery," he added in a statement.

However certain analysts believe any good news for France on the financial front could in fact make matters worse.

"“The impact of these figures could in fact be damaging because they could lessen the pressure on the French government to carry out the necessary reforms," Christian Schulz, an economist from Berenberg Bank told The Local last month.

“This surprise growth could actually make them blind to all the other problems. It’s quite likely France will return to the stagnation we have seen over the last year and half."

In July President François Hollande's claim in a TV interview that the French economy is on the verge of recovery was met with widespread ridicule in the press and by the public.

"The economic recovery is here," Hollande told TV viewers.

The full OECD report on Tuesday predicts third-quarter growth in France of 1.4 percent, and final quarter growth of 1.6 percent.

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Hopes hit as France reports ‘disappointing’ zero growth

Hopes of small economic growth in France were hit on Friday when the latest GDP figures were announced.

Hopes hit as France reports 'disappointing' zero growth
Photo: AFP

French growth stagnated in the second quarter of the year, statistics bureau Insee reported Friday, a “disappointing” result
that dashed hopes of a small economic expansion.

France's gross domestic product (GDP) showed no change in the three months to June, according to a first estimate, after rising a revised 0.7 percent in the first quarter.

The finance ministry called the flat figure “disappointing”, given that Insee had predicted 0.3 percent growth and the Bank of France 0.2 percent.

The ministry said, however, that it stood by its own growth forecast of 1.5 percent for the full year 2016.

Consumer spending stagnated, having driven growth with a 1.2-percent increase in the three previous months.

Food spending dropped, as did services as start-of-year spending on tickets and accommodation for the Euro 2016 football championships dropped out of the equation, Insee said.

Investment also fell, both by companies and the public sector.

Oil refinery strikes in May and June weighed on overall production, which dropped 0.2 percent, and the construction sector also weakened.

France's trade balance, however, made a positive contribution of 0.3 percentage points to GDP thanks to a sharp slowdown in imports of manufactured goods and oil products.