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French central bank sees slightly positive growth in last quarter

FILE PHOTO: People walk past food shops on a street in Paris, France

PARIS (Reuters) - The French economy will just manage to eke out positive growth in the final quarter of the year, the central bank estimated on Wednesday.

The Bank of France's monthly survey of companies' business conditions showed economic activity picking up from October, which it said pointed to "very slightly positive" growth in the last quarter.

With much of the euro zone at risk of recession in the face of Europe's energy crisis, the bloc's second-biggest economy managed to avoid contraction in the third quarter with growth of 0.2%.

The central bank's survey, which covers 8,500 companies and was conducted on Oct 27-Nov 4, also showed a slower increase in prices for finished products as supply and staffing difficulties eased.

Companies, especially in the industrial sector, reported a deterioration in their cashflows to levels rarely seen over the last 15 years, which the central bank said could be due to higher costs for building inventories.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)