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France’s central bank has trimmed its growth forecast for the first quarter of this year ahead of the country’s presidential election which kicks off in two weeks’ time.
The Banque de France said it expected the eurozone’s second largest economy to expand by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of 2017, down from a previous estimate of 0.4 per cent – the same pace of quarterly expansion recorded at the end of 2016.
The revision comes despite a series of survey data pointing to still robust French consumer and business growth at the start of the year. France’s consumer confidence indicator has held at a decade-high in recent months while the country’s businesses are in their rudest health in six-years, according to a key private sector survey.
Still, the central bank said it was holding steady on its estimate of 1.3 per cent GDP growth for the full year. France’s election kicks off with a first round vote at the end of this month, followed by a final run-off in early May.
The French economy has struggled to build up a head of steam since the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis but managed to notch up its best pace of growth since the start of 2016 in the final quarter of last year.