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Sectors seen as high-growth in terms of import potential over the next ten years are the automotive, electronics, chemical, agrifood, machinery, and textiles sectors. Aerospace and pharmaceuticals, which are favoured sectors for the French economy, are slightly less significant in terms of import potential, but should not be overlooked.
The colder than normal winter temperatures and heavy snow in the eastern part of the country put a chill on economic activity that began in December and continued through February. We estimate that the unseasonably cold weather trimmed around one percentage point from Q1 growth.
Bank funding costs have eased markedly following the OMT announcement by the ECB. UK-specific measures (notably the Funding for Lending Scheme) which are aimed at boosting bank lending, allowed UK banks' funding spreads to fall by more than those in other European countries.
The MPC expects CPI inflation to remain 'at, or slightly below, the target over the forecast period', under the assumption of markets' expectations for the Bank rate.
The French housing market again saw a modest decline in 2013: sales volumes were down 2% in pre-owned housing. Between February and November, they even rose by 8% over 12 months, with close to 60,000 sales a month.
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