The French government will reduce its forecast for growth of the economy this year from 0.8 percent, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.
When asked by a journalist on RTL radio if the figure would be 0.2-0.3 percent, Fabius replied that "it's around this figure", having previously recalled that the forecast had first been 1.2 percent, and then 0.8 percent.
The finance ministry said later that the forecast for 2013 had not yet been decided.
Fabius did not specify whether he meant that the previous forecast of 0.8-percent growth would be cut to 0.2-0.3 percent, or by 0.2-0.3 percentage points which would put the new forecast at 0.5-0.6 percent.
He said: "There was a growth forecast which was to begin with 1.2 percent. Then it was revised to 0.8 percent and now, as across Europe, things don't seem to be going at all well. We will be obliged to revise downwards."
He said: "This must be done in the next few days."
French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, when asked about these remarks on Europe 1 radio, was cautious.
"I confirm that, as the prime minister has said, we will be obliged to revise our targets for a simple reason. That is that in 2012 we anticipated weak growth of 0.5 percent, it was zero," he said.
"Therefore, we do not have this base of growth for a forecast as high as we had anticipated."