French Economy Expands Moderately In Q1

France’s economy expanded moderately in the first quarter on robust foreign demand, the first estimate released by the statistical office Insee showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.2 percent from the preceding quarter. The growth rate matched economists’ expectations and followed a nil growth in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The expenditure-side breakdown showed that household consumption remained flat after falling 1.0 percent a quarter ago. Further, gross fixed capital formation declined 0.2 percent after stability in the prior period.

Government spending slid 0.1 percent, in contrast to the 0.5 percent rise in the fourth quarter.

Conversely, foreign trade contributed positively to GDP growth by 0.6 points. Imports decreased 0.6 percent, reversing a 0.1 percent gain. At the same time, growth in exports improved to 1.1 percent from 0.9 percent.

Finally, the contribution of inventory changes to the evolution of GDP was negative 0.3 points in the first quarter after a positive contribution of 0.2 points in the preceding period.

Another data from the statistical office showed that household spending declined at a faster pace in March due to the fall in food consumption and the decline in purchases of manufactured goods.

Household spending decreased 1.3 percent month-on-month in March after a 0.8 percent decline in February. Food consumption fell 2.4 percent and purchases of engineered goods dropped 1.2 percent. Meanwhile, energy consumption gained 0.3 percent.

For the first quarter a whole, household consumption slid 0.2 percent from the previous three months.

The International Monetary Fund projected France’s GDP to grow 0.7 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2024.

Eurozone first quarter GDP data is due later today. The overall currency bloc is also forecast to grow 0.2 percent after staying flat a quarter ago.

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