French GDP edges up in first quarter as consumption recovers
PARIS – French GDP edged up 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2023 after a flat fourth quarter, thanks to a recovery in household consumption, which was flat after falling one percent in the previous quarter, INSEE data showed on Friday.
Food consumption in the euro zone’s second-largest economy fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, but energy demand rebounded and stronger trade figures also helped. Imports were down 0.6 percent after rising 0.1 percent in the previous quarter, while exports remained robust, up 1.1 percent after growing 0.9 percent .
Overall output of goods and services was up 0.4 percent in the first quarter, having risen just 0.1 percent in the final quarter of 2022, thanks to a dynamic manufacturing sector. A strong rebound in the refining industry also helped, with output jumping 13.1 percent after falling 11.4 percent in the previous quarter as strikes in march had been less widespread than in October.
Services again improved slightly, up 0.2 percent from plus 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, driven by a strong restaurant and hotel industry, whose output grew 1.5 percent after expanding just 0.2 percent in Q4.
French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau last month confirmed that he expected the nation’s full-year 2023 GDP would grow by “a little more” than the 0.3 percent forecast the bank had made in December.
Earlier this week, the German government raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 0.4 percent from a previously predicted 0.2 percent .
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