French finance minister sees economy growing in 2013: report

PARIS Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:24pm EDT

France's Economy, Finance and Trade Minister Pierre Moscovici leaves after the last cabinet meeting before the summer break at the Elysee Palace in Paris August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

France's Economy, Finance and Trade Minister Pierre Moscovici leaves after the last cabinet meeting before the summer break at the Elysee Palace in Paris August 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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PARIS (Reuters) - France economy has the potential to rebound in 2013 and there are no plans to lower growth forecasts for next year, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview to be published on Sunday by weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

"Once we are able to regain momentum in Europe and France, we have a real potential for growth in 2013," said Moscovici, dismissing suggestions that the government may be preparing to lower its 1.2 percent growth target for 2013.

"It's not the case," said Moscovici.

France's economy stayed at a low level for the third quarter running in the three months to June as a rise in investments and exports defied expectations for a contraction. But the lack of growth prompted concerns that the government may struggle to meet its growth target next year.

The government is targeting growth of 0.3 percent this year.

Moscovici said France would deliver on a promise to shrink its public sector deficit.

"We do not maintain a deficit target of 3 percent in 2013 for the sake of it: cutting debt is imperative to maintain our sovereignty and the control of our destiny," Moscovici said.

He said vehicle fuel price caps were back on the agenda after a recent rise in diesel and petrol prices, with a meeting planned with refiners and distributors on August 28.

"The measures to take should be the least expensive for our public finances," said Moscovici.

(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Ralph Gowling)

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