French central bank cuts Q1 growth forecast
France's central bank lowered its first-quarter growth prediction on Wednesday to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent after several sectors reported a sudden slowdown.
A survey of companies in several sectors found that production and deliveries in the pharmaceutical and machine manufacturing sectors hit a sticky patch in February after several months of rises.
"Production stoppages led to a decline in pharmaceuticals output, while the machinery sector also registered a fall. The automobile and plastics and rubber sectors improved," the bank said in a statement.
It noted that the slowdown in orders from outside France was particularly pronounced.
The figures were announced as protesters across France demonstrated against the Socialist government's attempts to reform labour laws.
Growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 0.3 percent, according to the national statistics agency, which is still forecasting a 0.4-percent rise in GDP in the first quarter of 2016.
The government is forecasting growth of 1.5 percent for 2016, a rise on the 1.1 percent registered in 2015 that was the biggest expansion for four years.
© 2016 AFP