PARIS (Reuters) – The French economy is set to grow slightly in the second quarter when compared to the previous one, the country’s central bank said on Wednesday, as activity across sectors picked up steam.
The Bank of France said companies polled in its monthly business sentiment survey reported activity in April was stronger than in March in the industrial sector, as well as in services and in construction.
Last month’s improvement came despite widespread strikes against a pension reform that have weighed on transport and energy. Millions took to the streets in protests surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to push through his plans to raise of the retirement age by two years, which he signed into law on April 15.
For May, polled companies expect a stable activity in services and a decline in the industrial and construction sectors.
In April, raw material prices were declining for the first time since summer 2020 and for May, companies expect a further decline in selling prices.
The number of firms reporting staffing troubles remained high in March at 51%, the Bank of France said.
In the first quarter of the year, the French economy – the euro zone’s second-largest – grew by 0.2%, the Bank of France said.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss, editing by Tassilo Hummel)