French growth at 0.25% in the first quarter

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Banque de France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau delivers a speech during the annual meeting of small and medium business leaders at the Banque de France in Paris, France, October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s economy likely recorded weak growth in the first quarter, but tougher days lie ahead as war in Ukraine weighs on activity, the central bank said on Tuesday, cutting its outlook.

He estimated that the eurozone’s second-largest economy grew 0.25% in the first three months from the previous quarter, cutting its forecast from 0.5% previously.

INSEE will publish its first quarterly GDP on April 29.

Banque de France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the more than 8,000 companies surveyed each month by the central bank reported a more uncertain outlook as the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine begins to make itself felt.

“French growth seems to be holding up better than our neighbors, but we are undoubtedly heading for tougher economic times,” Villeroy said in an interview with French regional newspaper group EBRA.

“France is driving on a slippery road. Let’s be careful to avoid economic swerves,” he added.

French voters head to the polls on April 24 for a runoff for the presidency between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen who promises a brutal break with her centrist politics.

Villeroy declined to comment on the election, but said if the country ends up spending and borrowing more, it could lose investor confidence and have to pay more to service its debt.

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