Official figures cloud French growth prospects

3rd January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 31 (AFP) - French government figures released here Friday cast doubts on the likelihood of 2.5 percent economic growth in 2004 and 2005 and foresaw the public deficit being reduced to 0.9 percent of output in 2009.

PARIS, Dec 31 (AFP) - French government figures released here Friday cast doubts on the likelihood of 2.5 percent economic growth in 2004 and 2005 and foresaw the public deficit being reduced to 0.9 percent of output in 2009.  

The finance ministry, according to an economic programme presented to European Union authorities in Brussels, predicted gross domestic product growth of "around 2.5 percent in 2004 after taking into account the greater number of working days this year."  

By that calculation, the figure could be 0.2-0.3 points lower in adjusted terms - the way annual growth rates are normally given.  

The ministry is sticking to its 2.5 percent growth forecast for 2005 but warned that "the downside risks have increased since the budget was presented" in September. It cited oil prices, exchange rates and imbalances in the US economy as negative factors.  

The documents said the public deficit was expected to drop from 3.6 percent of GDP in 2004 to 2.9 percent in 2005, as already announced, and then to 2.2 percent in 2006, 1.6 percent in 2007 and 0.9 percent in 2008.

The predictions all presume annual economic growth of 2.5 percent.  

The government in addition foresaw an annual 1.2 percent increase in public expenditure up to 2008.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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