French growth on track despite latest COVID surge -central bank

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Restaurant in Paris during COVID-19

PARIS – French economic activity is holding up this month despite the latest wave of COVID-19 outbreaks sweeping the country, the central bank said on Tuesday.

Drawing on its latest monthly survey of 8,500 French firms, the Bank of France estimated that economic activity was running at +0.75% of pre-pandemic levels this month, unchanged from December.

France has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 infections over the last month with new cases hitting record levels as the omicron variant of the coronavirus became dominant, prompting the government to tighten health restrictions again.

The central bank estimated that the economy grew 0.6% in the final quarter of 2021, which meant, it said in its latest short-term outlook, that its forecast of 6.7% growth for the full year was probably correct.

The bank said that with firms expecting business to be stable in January, carrying over from December, the economy remained on course for the 3.6% growth forecast last month for this year.

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(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)