November 29, 2017 / 7:59 AM / a year ago

French third-quarter GDP rises 0.5 percent, but October consumer spending weakened

A general view shows the Arc de Triomphe and the financial and business district in La Defense, west of Paris, France November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - The French economy expanded by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, a slight slowdown from the pace of growth three months earlier, while consumer spending weakened in October, the INSEE national statistics agency said on Wednesday.

The third quarter GDP (gross domestic product) growth reading of 0.5 percent was in line with an earlier estimate, and followed growth of 0.6 percent in the second quarter.

October consumer spending fell by 1.9 percent from the previous three months, which INSEE partly attributed to a decline in spending on gas and electricity due to warmer-than-average temperatures, and less money spent on household goods.

France, the second-biggest economy in the euro zone, is forecast by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to grow 1.7 percent in 2017, which would mark its strongest performance since 2011.

“French assets have been trading on a slight premium to the rest of Europe, and that has partly reflected the fact that investors have been enthused by the start of Macron’s presidency,” said Gautam Batra, head of investments at Mediolanum Asset Management, which manages around 40 billion euros ($47.5 billion) of assets.

For a graphic of GDP by contributions:

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Sarah White

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