France in mild Q4 recession: bank
AFPPARIS -- The French central bank repeated on Thursday its estimate that France fell into a mild recession at the end of 2012, putting contraction of the economy at 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter after equivalent estimated shrinkage in the second quarter.
January 11, 2013, 12:52 am TWN
The latest estimate from the Bank of France differs from data from the national statistics office which suggests that France has just averted recession this year by showing marginal intermittent growth.
But together the sets of data suggest that the country is bumping along on the edge of recession when it urgently needs to achieve steady and stronger growth to generate activity, reduce high unemployment and raise tax revenues in a battle to reduce the public deficit.
The Socialist government switched the emphasis of its economic policy a few months after coming to power this year, focusing on the need to raise the competitive position of French industry so as to boost exports and reduce a big trade deficit.
The central bank stood by its view that the country fell into mild recession on the basis of its latest monthly report in December on the state of activity in the industrial and services sector.
The bank's overall assessment of how the figures for the economy in the fourth quarter would turn out was the same as the assessments the bank made in November and October.
The bank has already said that it believes the economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the third quarter from output in the second quarter.
The technical definition of recession is two quarters running of contraction of output in a quarter from output in the previous quarter.