France's economic growth couldexceed 2.5 pct: budget minister

16th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 16 (AFP) - Budget Minister Dominique Bussereau said Monday that French economic growth could exceed 2.5 percent this year, judging by the most recent macroeconomic figures from the state statistics office.

PARIS, Aug 16 (AFP) - Budget Minister Dominique Bussereau said Monday that French economic growth could exceed 2.5 percent this year, judging by the most recent macroeconomic figures from the state statistics office.

"The recent statistics from INSEE make the hypothesis of 2.5-percent growth in 2004 very realistic, and even allow us to hope for maybe a little better still," Bussereau said in an interview with French daily Les Echos.

Last week, INSEE reported provisional second-quarter gross domestic product growth of 0.8 percent, and said it would likely raise its current 2004 forecast of 2.2 percent, to more than 2.3 percent.

INSEE said that it expected the final figure for the second quarter to be 0.8-0.9 percent after growth of 0.8 percent in the first quarter.

Economy Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said in late July that GDP might expand by 2.5 percent this year.

Many economists also expect to see full-year growth of 2.5 percent after GDP grew a meager 0.5 percent last year, the worst performance since 1993.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has indicated a maximum rate of 2.3 percent. The French government has forecast 2004 GDP growth of 1.7 percent.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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