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Financial News: France GDP Grows Less Than Forecast On Household

France GDP Grows Less Than Forecast On Household Spending

07/27/2018 - 09:02:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - France's economy grew less-than-expected in the second quarter, largely reflecting weak household consumption.

Gross domestic product grew 0.2 percent sequentially, the same pace of growth as seen in the first quarter, first estimate from the statistical office Insee showed Friday. The pace of growth was forecast to improve to 0.3 percent.

Temporary factors appeared to weigh on activity in the second quarter, such as the unseasonably warm weather in April, the timing of public holidays in May, and strikes in the railway sector throughout the quarter, Jessica Hinds, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Hinds expects growth to be somewhat weaker than 1.8 percent this year. But it is expected to pick up in 2019 and 2020, which would help to soften the blow of planned cuts to government spending, the economist added.

France's growth is set to gain momentum in the second half of this year, with GDP growth expected to expand by 1.7 percent in both 2018 and 2019, the European Commission said in its latest interim forecast. The expenditure-side breakdown of GDP showed that household spending dropped slightly by 0.1 percent, reversing a 0.2 percent rise, whereas growth in total gross fixed capital formation accelerated to 0.7 percent from 0.1 percent.

Overall, final domestic demand excluding inventory changes contributed 0.2 points to GDP growth, the same as in the first quarter.

Another report from Insee showed that consumer spending gained only 0.1 percent in June after rising 1 percent in May.

GDP data revealed that imports rebounded 1.7 percent after falling 0.3 percent. Likewise, exports climbed 0.6 percent versus a 0.4 percent drop a quarter ago. All in all, foreign trade balance contributed negatively to GDP growth, by 0.3 points, after a neutral contribution in the first quarter.

Conversely, changes in inventories boosted GDP growth, by contributing 0.3 points.

Data showed that production in goods and services gained only 0.2 percent as goods output fell 0.3 percent, while services advanced 0.4 percent. At the same time, construction bounced back by 0.6 percent after easing 0.3 percent in the previous quarter.

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