PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - The French economy grew 0.9% in the second quarter from the previous quarter, an initial forecast by the national statistics office showed, which the country’s finance minister said put France on track to meet its 6% growth target for 2021.
The 0.9% growth compared with no growth in the first quarter, said the INSEE statistics office. A poll of 29 analysts had given a mean forecast for growth of 0.8%.
“It is an exceptional performance by the French economy,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio, adding the second quarter performance meant France was on track to meet that 6% annual growth target for 2021.
France, the euro zone’s second-biggest economy, has emerged in recent months from an earlier lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Emmanuel Macron ordered France to enter into its third national lockdown on March 31, and the country gradually started to ease restrictions from May onwards, with many shops, restaurants and businesses re-opening.
However, the country is now facing a fourth wave of the coronavirus. Le Maire said France’s overseas territories of La Reunion and Martinique - which are going into new lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus - would get more economic aid.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Alex Richardson)