France's Central Bank on Friday said that the French economy would likely have only tepid growth in the first quarter of 2013 and would expand by a marginal 0.1 percent in that period.
In its latest monthly forecast, the Bank of France said that a decline in production and deliveries, plus a fall-back on industry order books had largely contributed to the mediocre forecast.
It is the bank's first estimate on GDP growth this year and at least two more will be published before the final statistics for the first quarter.
The Central Bank also said prices in France had eased slightly at the beginning of the year but were likely to firm slightly in February.
The government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said that the French economy should grow by 0.8 percent this year, but this is viewed as over optimistic in view of the economic situation.
At the same time, the Central Bank did note export orders were relatively firm for now, which is comforting given that France depends heavily on exports for its economic performance, in addition to strong domestic consumption.
Massive recent orders for Airbus aircraft have been a key earner for the French economy.