French construction sector's recovery seen accelerating in 2017

PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - A rebound in the French construction sector will accelerate next year, provided government measures supporting the sector are not scrapped after the 2017 presidential election, the head of the French building federation (FFB) said on Wednesday.

After eight years of recession, construction activity in France - home to construction companies such as Bouygues , Vinci and Eiffage - is seen rising to 1.9 percent in volumes this year.

It is then seen accelerating further to 3.4 percent in 2017, mostly driven by new residential housing.

A potential reduction in public spending after the May 2017 election, if extended on measures such as the PTZ scheme of zero-interest-rate loans for first time buyers or the CITE tax credit to encourage energy efficient home improvement work, could derail that recovery and threaten 100,000 jobs in the sector, Jacques Chanut, head of the FFB told a news conference.

The building sector - excluding infrastructure projects - accounts for around six per cent of national output, employing around 1.1 million people.

France’s economy will expand by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the Bank of France said earlier this month, saying there was a pick-up in sentiment for construction, with the business sentiment indicator for that sector rising to 100 in November from 99 in October. (Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)