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French Preliminary Annual Inflation Eases To 2.4% In March

By Reuters
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French Preliminary Annual Inflation Eases To 2.4% In March

French consumer prices rose by a smaller than expected 2.4% year-on-year in March, preliminary data from statistics agency INSEE showed on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had on average expected a preliminary EU-harmonised inflation figure of 2.8%.

Inflation eased from the 3.2% recorded for February, due to a slowdown in the prices of food, services, tobacco, energy and manufactured goods, INSEE said.

Inflation calculated according to French standards also slowed more than expected to 2.3% in March, from 3% in February and compared with expectations of 2.6%.

Month-on-month consumer price inflation eased to 0.2% from 0.9% in February, according to the preliminary data, with INSEE attributing the slowdown to a slight drop in energy prices, particularly for gas and petroleum products.

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Conversely, prices of manufactured goods are expected to have accelerated due to the seasonal rise in clothing prices after the winter sales, INSEE said.

Mercosur Agreement

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron, during his visit to Brazil, said that a potential agreement between the European Union and the South American Mercosur trade bloc as it stands is a "very bad deal" and more climate commitments are needed.

"As it is negotiated today, it is a very bad deal, for you and for us," Macron told businessmen in Sao Paulo while on a three-day trip to Latin America's largest economy, amid troubled talks over a free trade deal between the two economic blocs.

"There is nothing that takes into consideration the subject of biodiversity and climate; nothing," Macron said. "Let's forge a new deal in light of our goals and reality, a trade deal that is responsible on development, climate and biodiversity."

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While Brazil has said it is ready to sign a deal, France has repeatedly expressed reservations and said its farmers have objected to the prospect that could allow in agricultural imports, notably beef, that do not meet strict EU standards.

"We still have time," said Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad at the same event. "It's true we lost an opportunity at the end of last year, but we should not give up on this deal."

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