French economy set for minimal growth

French economy set for minimal growth
France looks set for minimal growth in 2014, the country's national bank report. Photo: Kentee Gardin/Flickr
The French economy is set to grow by a minimal amount in the first quarter of 2014, the country's central bank confirmed on Friday. France's economy is forecast to grow around 1 percent in 2014, which does not compare favourably to predictions for the UK or Germany.

The French economy is expected to grow by 0.2 percent in the first quarter, the country's central bank said on Monday, confirming a preliminary forecast issued a month ago.

The bank makes its forecasts based on a monthly survey of a panel of private sector executives, who have reported that business confidence remained largely unchanged in February.

The central bank noted that industrial production was "steady" across almost all sectors in February. This was particularly so in the chemical, pharmaceutical as well as machines and equipments industries.

"Deliveries are intensifying" while "the order books are filling out somewhat", said the bank which also expects business activity to improve slightly in March.

In the services sector, a "slight rise in activity" is seen in March.

The eurozone's second biggest economy turned in slightly better than expected growth of 0.3 percent last year. 

The European Commission predicts France's economy will grow by just 1 percent in 2014, compared to 2.5 percent for  the UK economy and 1.8 percent in Germany.

However, it is struggling to bring down its jobless ranks, with 3.31 million unemployed on the register in January.

French President Francois Hollande's government is also under pressure to cut public spending and raise revenues, with the European Commission last week placing the country under close surveillance over its failure to rein in its deficit.

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