December 8, 2014 / 7:38 AM / in 3 years

French central bank sees fourth-quarter growth at 0.1 percent

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s economy is on course to grow 0.1 percent in the final quarter of the year, led by a modest gain in industrial activity, the central bank said on Monday in a second estimate confirming its first.

A worker at an Arcelor steel plant works at a furnace in Florange-Hayange near Metz in the French Lorraine region February 9, 2006. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The forecast came after official data showed the euro zone’s second largest economy eked out 0.3 percent growth in the third quarter after contracting 0.1 percent in the second.

The central bank offered its latest take on French prospects in its monthly business climate survey which showed sentiment in the industrial sector stood at 97 in November, slightly higher than the 96 recorded in October.

The survey showed that sentiment in the services sector was flat at 93. The October reading was revised down one point from a preliminary level of 94.

President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government expects growth of 0.4 percent this year before it accelerates to 1.0 percent next year, led by a hoped-for rebound in corporate investment.

Underlining the difficulty of the task ahead, forecasts by ECB staff issued last week sharply downgraded the overall euro zone’s growth outlook for next year to 1.0 percent from the 1.6 percent predicted in September.

Reporting by Mark John; Editing by Natalie Huet

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