The French economy, bumping along in recession, is likely to grow by 0.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, the Bank of France said on Wednesday. This is better than forecast at the end of June by the national statistics institute INSEE which foresaw zero growth in the third quarter.
The forecast from the central bank on Wednesday, in the form of a first estimate, was based in part on its index of industrial confidence which returned a reading of 95 points in July which was slightly down from 96 points in June.
The overall estimate was also based on the bank’s index for services which turned in a reading of 91 points, up from 90 in June.
Meanwhile the customs service reported that the French trade balance showed a deficit of 4.4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in June, the smallest deficit since July 2010.
The main reason for this improvement was a fall in imports of hydrocarbons.
For the whole of the first six months of the year the balance showed a deficit of 29.9 billion euros.
This was the first time since 2010 that the figure was less than 30 billion euros, Trade Minister Nicole Bricq told the newspaper Les Echos.