November 9, 2017 / 7:35 AM / a year ago

Bank of France estimates French Q4 GDP growth at 0.5 percent

PARIS, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The French economy is expected to grow by 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, maintaining progress from a similar level of growth in the previous quarter, the country’s central bank said in an initial estimate on Thursday.

France’s INSEE official statistics agency has forecast 1.8 growth percent this year, with the French economy on track for its strongest performance since 2011 as President Emmanuel Macron looks to push through his reform agenda.

His government’s annual growth target of 1.7 percent now looks likely to be surpassed, making his plan to cut France’s budget deficit easier to achieve.

The Bank of France gave the estimate in its monthly business climate report, which showed that sentiment in the industrial sector had risen to 106 points in October from 105 in September - marking its highest reading since April 2011.

The sentiment indicator for the services industry also reached its highest level since June 2011, edging up to 102 points in October from 101 in September.

“The private sector in France is showing a welcome acceleration which will continue to feed into asset prices,” Lorne Baring, managing director at investment firm B Capital, said.

“We expect French and German equities to perform well and have recommended an overweight position since the beginning of the summer,” he said. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta ; Editing by Matthias Blamont)

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