PARIS: Defying downbeat predictions by the European Commission, the Bank of France forecasts a national growth rate of 0.26% in the quarter to September 30 and between 2% and 2.5% for 2007 as a whole.

The bank's numbers contrast with those of the EC, which recently downgraded the nation's annual growth from 2.4% to 1.9%. This assumed Q3 and 4 growth of just 0.5%.

France's relatively robust economic position counters the widespread uncertainty sparked by credit fears in the US economy.

It also boosts the assertion by European Central Bank president Jean Claude Trichet that the EU's economy remains comparatively strong.

As a result, the euro currency now stands at an alltime high against the US dollar.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff