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Finance Minister Le Maire sees French economy back to pre-COVID levels by first half 2022

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Launching of the 2020 income tax campaign in France

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) - The French economy will return to its pre-COVID 19 levels of economic activity by the first half of 2022, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday, who also reaffirmed his target of 5% economic growth for France in 2021.

"Economic growth is back in the first quarter... I think we will have a strong growth in 2021," Le Maire told France Info radio.

He ruled out a second economic stimulus plan on top of France's current 100 billion euros ($122 billion) economic stimulus plan.

Le Maire, added, however that it was fair to raise the issue of longer-term investment plans for France.

President Emmanuel Macron pointed last week to a "second period of recovery" that would see investment accelerated, triggering speculation in the press and among economists that a second round of stimulus was in the pipeline.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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