Bank of France sees 0.5-percent growth for 2nd quarter

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The Bank of France said on Tuesday that the French economy would grow by 0.5 percent in the second quarter of the year.

The central bank maintained an earlier forecast for the country's growth.

The bank had estimated that in the first quarter of this year, the French economy would grow by 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis, but a first estimate from the official statistics institute showed that growth was only 0.1 percent.

The government is counting on the economy growing by 1.4 percent for the whole of this year, having experienced the severest recession in 2009 since World War II with a contraction of 2.5 percent.

Sources close to Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said that the target for 2010, which requires average growth of 0.4 percent in each of the last three quarters of the year, had not been undermined by the weak growth figure for the first quarter.

The forecast by the government is in line with an estimate from the International Monetary Fund that the French economy would grow by 1.5 percent this year and by the European Commission foreseeing growth of 1.3 percent.

© 2010 AFP

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