The French economy is on course to grow 0.4% in the first three months of the year, the central bank forecast today in its first estimate of gross domestic product for the quarter. 

If confirmed, that would mark a pick-up from the final quarter of last year, when the euro zone's second-biggest economy eked out 0.2% growth. 

The Bank of France offered the estimate in its monthly business sentiment survey, which showed morale in the industrial sector rose to 101 - the highest since May 2011 - from 100 in December.

However, those polled said they expected business growth to slow in February. 

Meanwhile, the indicator for the services sector remained stable at 96 as the hotel and restaurant industries continued to suffer after the November jihadist attacks in Paris. 

Survey participants flagged lower expectations for business in February.