Bank of France raises growth forecast slightly
A worker walks past motorsport racing tyres stocked in the Michelin tyre company’s factory in Clermont-Ferrand, central France, July 10, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Regis Duvignau PARIS | Mon Sep 9, 2013 3:30am EDT PARIS (Reuters) – France should post economic growth of 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the Bank of France said on Monday, revising its forecast up slightly from a first estimate of 0.1 percent. Europe’s second-biggest economy emerged from recession with faster-than-expected growth of 0.5 percent in the second quarter, but many economists have questioned it can keep that pace up for the rest of the year. The Bank of France said its monthly business climate survey in August showed sentiment in the industrial sector rose to 97 from 95 in July, bringing the index to its strongest level since September 2011 and just shy of its long-term average of 100. In the services sector, confidence also rose in August, reaching 93 on the central bank’s index from 91 in July. Executives told the Bank of France they expected activity to accelerate in September, with order books no longer shrinking in industry and staff levels on the rise in the services sector, a big employer. Consumer confidence and import figures on Friday also signaled that demand in the 2 trillion euro economy is gathering momentum, although from low levels. The improving economic outlook will provide some relief to the unpopular government of President Francois Hollande as it drafts a tough 2014 budget aimed at cutting the deficit to an EU limit of 3 percent of output. The Socialist government’s new growth new forecast will be closely scrutinized when it unveils the budget on September 25. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development forecast last week that the economy would grow 0.3 percent this year, lifting its estimate from a contraction of -0.3 percent previously. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Brian Love and Patrick Graham)
Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August. Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images French sports fans are known for their love of soccer. But according to Le Figaro, the country’s “second sport” is hunting. The newspaper cites the National Federation of Hunters, which says that among all European countries, France has the most hunters. The data are based on the number of registered practitioners of a sport. Soccer has more than 2 million, while hunting had 1.2 million license holders for the 2011-2012 season, Le Figaro reports . As in much of the United States, the end of summer brings the arrival of hunting seasons for game in France, from birds to boars. The new hunting season is well under way in many French regions. According to France’s National Federation of Hunters , the sport’s popularity also brings risks there were 21 fatal hunting accidents in France during the one-year period that ended on May 31, 2013. That’s out of a total of 179 mishaps. We glanced at the comments on the Figaro story to see if any readers protested its claims perhaps with an eye to defending rugby or auto racing. But many comments simply stated a belief that hunting isn’t a sport, while others defended it.