The French economy is expected to go into recession at the end of 2011 and early next year as the European debt crisis and low growth drag down trade, investment and activity, but the recession should be short-lived, according to a report by the National Statistics Institute (INSEE).
INSEE, in its report released late on Thursday, also said that growth targets set by the French government will be unattainable in the current climate.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, only a month ago, forecast that the French economy would expand by 1.75 percent in 2011, which was at a lower rate than the 2.0 forecast earlier. But even this lower rate is being revised downwards by INSEE and put at around 1.6 percent.
In the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, France is expected to witness a small contraction in its economy, which means it will be in recession. However, the economy should begin to grow again after April.
Fillon has also forecast growth of 1.75 percent in 2012 but this now appears extremely over-optimistic.
France only came out of recession two years ago after the impact of the 2008-2009 international financial crisis was overcome.