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French food price inflation likely down 'significantly' in Jan - Carrefour CEO

FILE PHOTO: The fruit section is seen at a Carrefour hypermarket in Nice

PARIS (Reuters) - Food price inflation in France will likely fall significantly starting in January, following the government's plan to bring forward annual price negotiations between retailers and consumer goods companies initially planned for next year, Carrefour chairman and chief executive Alexandre Bompard said on Sunday.

"Starting in January, we should see the level of inflation come down significantly," he said, speaking on French television channel BFM TV.

Bompard said that he expected food price inflation to come down well below 10% to closer to 5%. August data released on Thursday showed food inflation - though easing for the fifth consecutive month from a peak earlier this year - is still running at 11.1%, nearly twice the overall inflation rate.

Bompard had warned Tuesday that high prices were forcing consumers to cut back massively on essential goods.

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Retailers and consumer goods companies in France have been trading blame over who is responsible for the increase in prices in supermarkets even as the cost of raw materials has been falling in recent months.

The Carrefour executive added that he expected food inflation to remain higher in coming years than levels over past decades of between zero and 1% due to climate and geopolitical factors.

"The time of zero food inflation, I believe, is behind us," he said.

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Ros Russell)