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France growth slows to 0.1% in third quarter

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
France growth slows to 0.1% in third quarter
French Minister for the Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / POOL / AFP)

France's economy slowed to 0.1 percent growth in the third quarter buoyed by strong consumer spending according to an initial estimate, the national statistics office said on Tuesday.

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That marks a sharp slowdown from the 0.6 growth quarter-on-quarter growth that the French economy registered in the second quarter, after INSEE revised the figure for that quarter up by a tenth of a percentage point.   

For 2023 as a whole, INSEE forecasts the French economy will expand by 0.9 percent, which is the same as the estimate of the French central bank and just under the 1.0 percent expected by the government.

French consumers, who account for a major portion of demand, boosted their consumption by 0.7 percent, in particular on food as inflation remains elevated.

Business investment also remains a growth driver, rising by 1.5 percent.

But after a strong second quarter, exports fell by 1.4 percent in the July through September period.

Manufacturing contracted by 0.3 percent, as did services.

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Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed the fact that the French economy continued to grow despite high interest rates meant to bring down inflation.

"In a degraded environment, the French economy is holding on," he told journalists.

Data released by INSEE subsequently showed inflation slowed considerably in October, to an annual rate of 4.0 percent from 4.9 percent in September.

The drop was primarily due energy prices being lower than at the same time last year.

But on a monthly basis, prices edged 0.1 percent after having slid 0.5 percent in September.

Le Maire said France is "in the process of exiting the inflationary crisis".

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