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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 09:20 GMT
French economy 'deteriorating'
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, new French prime minister
Prime Minister Raffarin may be too optimistic
Growth of just 0.2% in the July-to-September quarter has dampened hopes of a quick recovery for France's economy.

Lack of investment by companies curbed growth even though consumer spending remained strong, national statistics showed.


The government's [2.5%] growth target for 2003 is too high

Nicolas Claquin, CCF
"These figures are worse than expected and prove that the French economy is deteriorating," said Nicolas Claquin, economist at CCF bank.

Economists had expected growth to be modestly stronger, at about 0.3%.

"These figures are disappointing," agreed UBS Warburg economist Stephane Deo.

"I was expecting 2002 growth of 1%. With these figures, I think I'm going to revise my estimate down to 0.9%."

Weakness ahead

Economists were gloomy about France's prospects for next year.

"We can expect [the weakness] to continue at least until the start of 2003, confirming our forecast of gross domestic product growth of 1.4% next year," said Mr Claquin.

Struggling European economies
UK +0.7%
Germany +0.3%
Italy +0.3%
France +0.2%
Jul-Sep 2002

"The government's [2.5%] growth target for 2003 is too high."

Economic growth in July to September was weaker than in the previous three-month period when the French economy expanded by 0.4%.

It was also lower than the modest 0.3% growth managed in the third quarter by both Germany and Italy.

"The figure confirms that France is not immune from the slowdown affecting our European partners and the United States," said Credit Lyonnais eurozone economist, Bruno Cavalier.

"At best, we expect growth of 1.8%" next year, Mr Cavalier said.

See also:

22 Nov 02 | Europe
21 Nov 02 | Business
21 Nov 02 | Business
20 Nov 02 | Business
10 Nov 02 | Business
10 Jul 02 | Business
25 Oct 02 | Business
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