[PARIS] The French economy is on course to grow 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, the Bank of France said in its latest business survey on Monday, revising down its forecast from an earlier 0.4 per cent.
The central bank's business sentiment indicator showed a slight cooling in February to 96 from 98 in January, while sentiment in the services sector rose to 92 from 91. "Business leaders expect a more marked increase in industrial activity in March," it noted, adding that they also saw a strengthening of activity in services this month.
President Francois Hollande's government expects growth of 1.0 per cent this year after the 0.4 per cent seen last year. In comments this month, Hollande has renewed his optimism that a tentative recovery is setting in.