France’s economy is set to gain momentum towards the end of 2013 and will post growth of 0.4 percent on the quarter in the last three months of the year, the Bank of France said on Tuesday in a first estimate.
The French central bank and economists polled by Reuters expect a first official reading for the third quarter on Thursday to show that growth in Europe’s second-largest economy slowed to 0.1 percent from 0.5 percent in the previous quarter.
The Bank of France based its fourth-quarter estimate on the results of its monthly business sentiment survey, which showed its index for the industrial sector rising to 99 in October from 97 in September, just below the long-term average of 100.
Sentiment in the services sector held steady at 93.
Respondents to the central banks’ survey reported that the orders in the industrial sector were close to returning to normal levels though staffing was trimmed in October.
Staff levels rose in the service sector, which is a major employer in France, but prices fell and cash positions remained weak, the Bank of France said.
The government of President Francois Hollande, struggling with weak poll ratings, estimates that the 2 trillion euro ($2.68 trillion) economy will grow at least 0.1 percent over the whole of 2013 after France emerged from recession at the start of the year.
Standard & Poor’s cut France’s sovereign credit rating on Friday by one notch to AA over doubts that Hollande’s policies could restore growth over the medium term.
Hollande is struggling to convince voters he can live up to pledge to get long-rising unemployment on a downward trend by the end of the year. ($1 = 0.7459 euros)
PARIS (Reuters) – (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Leila Abboud and Mark John)