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French economy stalls in early 2012


French economy stalls in early 2012


France’s economy did not grow at all in the first three months of this year and, according to a just released survey carried out by the French central bank, activity will remain weak in the coming months.

In its monthly report, the Bank of France indicated the eurozone’s second largest economy did avoid slipping into recession, after it grew by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

However, it said that activity was likely to remain “stable” in the coming months, a picture confirmed by soft manufacturing data on Tuesday from the INSEE national statistics office.

Manufacturing output fell by 1.2 percent in February after slipping a revised 0.1 percent in January. For industry as a whole, output increased by 0.3 percent, in line with economists’ forecasts, helped by a rise in gas and electricity consumption amid a cold snap.

Industrial output rose a revised 0.2 percent in month-on-month in January, in line with the eurozone average.

Economists said that with fiscal tightening across Europe weighing on external demand for French goods and with rising domestic unemployment likely to peak next year above 10 percent, it was no surprise the growth outlook was weak.

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