Bank of France sees economy in recession with fourth-quarter dip

PARIS Fri Nov 9, 2012 8:29am GMT

Detail of the facade of the Bank of France headquarters in Paris May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Detail of the facade of the Bank of France headquarters in Paris May 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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PARIS (Reuters) - French gross domestic product is expected to shrink 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, an October survey by the Bank of France showed, which could put the euro zone's second-largest economy in recession.

The central bank has already predicted a similar 0.1 percent dip in the third quarter, and economists generally define a recession as two straight quarters of contraction.

A separate report from INSEE, the national statistics office, showed a poor finish to the third quarter for industry, with overall output dropping 2.7 percent in September after a 1.9 percent rise in August.

In the manufacturing sector alone, output fell 3.2 percent in September, after August's 2.1 percent rise, INSEE said.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said recently he expected the economy to grow slightly in the third quarter of 2012 while INSEE predicts zero growth.

In its latest survey results, published on Friday, the Bank of France also said a separate index of business sentiment in the industrial sector held steady at 92 in October.

The government predicts 0.3 percent GDP growth this year and is counting on 0.8 percent growth in 2013, compared to European Commission forecasts respectively of 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent in 2012 and 2013.

(Reporting by Vicky Buffery and Brian Love; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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