French economy posts no growth


FRANCE’S ECONOMY posted no growth in the first quarter and there is no sign of a brisk recovery, according to a Bank of France survey.

In its monthly report, the Bank of France indicated that the euro zone’s second largest economy had avoided a recession and that activity was likely to remain stable in the coming months, a picture confirmed by soft manufacturing data from the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee).

Insee had also forecast last month that France’s €2 trillion economy would post no growth in the first quarter.

The Bank of France said its business sentiment indicator for industry was unchanged in March at 95, a three-month low it reached in February.

It noted that industrial activity improved, with rises in pharmaceuticals and chemicals, transport equipment and high-tech goods.

“Forecasts suggest that activity will remain stable in the short term,” the bank said in its report.

Industrial capacity utilisation was unchanged in March and remained below its long-term average. Order books were close to normal levels.