• French economy gains momentum

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    PARIS: France’s economic growth is set to pick up slightly in the early part of this year, data showed on Monday, building on its biggest expansion in four years in 2015.

    The Bank of France said it expected the eurozone’s second biggest economy to grow by 0.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first three months of this year.

    That is a small increase from 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

    The Bank of France based its estimates on its monthly survey of businesses, which anticipate a slight improvement in industrial activity, as well as the services and construction sectors this month.

    January saw gains in industrial production and deliveries, especially for cars, industrial chemicals, electrical equipment and food, the central bank said in a statement, describing them as “particularly dynamic” sectors.

    Orders grew, including from foreign customers, it added.

    The French government is aiming for growth of 1.5 percent in 2016.

    Last month the national statistics agency INSEE said the economy grew by 1.1 percent last year —its best rate since 2011.

    AFP

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