Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Sep 15, 2013

French far-right targets local, EU election wins

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) – France’s far-right National Front, buoyed by improving poll numbers, is aiming for big gains in municipal elections next year and the top spot in the European parliament ballot, its leaders said at the party’s annual convention.

The two 2014 elections, the first since the Socialists came to power in 2012, are set to dominate the political agenda in the euro zone’s second-largest country for the next nine months.

Sep 11, 2013

France downgrades growth forecast, delays deficit targets

PARIS (Reuters) – France revised its public deficit forecasts on Wednesday, acknowledging it would take advantage of an extra two years granted by the EU in order to put its finances back on track while preserving fragile growth.

The euro zone’s second-largest economy exited a shallow recession in the second quarter but still struggles with weak activity and high unemployment.

Aug 14, 2013

‘London Whale’ colleague keeps low profile in sleepy French village

SARRAZAC, France (Reuters) – Hundreds of miles from the bustling trading rooms where he worked with the “London Whale”, a former JPMorgan trader has taken refuge in a French hamlet where few have heard of the $6.2 billion scandal to which he is being linked.

U.S. authorities on Wednesday filed charges against Julien Grout for crimes related to the scandal, including wire fraud, conspiracy and the falsifying of books and records.

Aug 9, 2013

French industry output shrinks in June, recovery seen tentative

PARIS (Reuters) – French industrial output unexpectedly shrank in June, underscoring the fragility of a hoped-for recovery in the euro zone’s second-largest economy.

A series of positive indicators, including better than expected industrial output in April and May, have prompted President Francois Hollande to tout that recovery “is here.”

Aug 1, 2013

France asks Hollande: recovery – what recovery?

PARIS (Reuters) – Facing TV cameras on the sun-dappled lawn of the Elysee Palace earlier this month, Francois Hollande berated the French for their notorious pessimism and told them a long-awaited economic recovery had already arrived.

It was part of the president’s unashamedly upbeat drive to give what he calls a “jolt of confidence” to Europe’s second largest economy: things will start looking better if only you believe they are.

Jul 31, 2013

Analysis: France asks Hollande: recovery – what recovery?

PARIS (Reuters) – Facing TV cameras on the sun-dappled lawn of the Elysee Palace earlier this month, Francois Hollande berated the French for their notorious pessimism and told them a long-awaited economic recovery had already arrived.

It was part of the president’s unashamedly upbeat drive to give what he calls a “jolt of confidence” to Europe’s second largest economy: things will start looking better if only you believe they are.

Jul 23, 2013

French debt agency chief eyes more buybacks

PARIS (Reuters) – France eyes more debt buybacks if market conditions remain favourable, its debt agency chief told Reuters as the country keeps borrowing at rates near record lows despite a Fed-related increase and a sovereign rating downgrade.

The euro zone’s second-largest economy has already issued 80 percent of debt planned for this year, borrowing at a historic low of 1.44 percent on average across all maturities, Ambroise Fayolle said in the interview.

Jul 12, 2013

Fitch cuts French credit rating on budget, economy woes

NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) – France lost the last of its major AAA ratings on Friday in a blow to President Francois Hollande as his government battles to rein in public finances and kickstart the stalled economy.

Fitch cut France’s credit rating by one notch to AA-plus, citing a deteriorating debt outlook and an uncertain economic environment as the euro zone crisis risked flaring up anew.

Jul 10, 2013

French industry output fuels recovery hopes

PARIS (Reuters) – French industrial output contracted less than expected in May after a jump in April, which the finance minister said was a further sign that the euro zone’s second largest economy may have exited from a mild recession.

Signs of weakness in the French economy have become a source of concern in Europe after the country entered a shallow recession in the first quarter, but data since then have pointed to an improvement.

Jul 9, 2013

France plans power price hike in boost for EDF

PARIS, July 9 (Reuters) – The French government is planning
the biggest increase in power prices in at least a decade to
cover rising costs at state-owned utility EDF.

The energy and environment ministry said on Tuesday it was
planning a 5 percent increase in state-controlled electricity
tariffs in August and 5 percent more in August next year.