Consumer price inflation in France has declined in January primarily on lower prices of manufactured products and food items, according to official data.

Inflation as per the consumer price index (CPI) eased modestly to 1.2 percent in January from 1.3 percent in December, according to the national statistics institute INSEE. Economists were expecting a level of 1.4 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged down 0.5 percent in January following a 0.3 percent rise in December. Economists expected a 0.2 percent decline in prices.

The largest downward pressure on the change in the CPI in January came mainly from a 2.3 percent monthly decline in the prices of manufactured products that more than offset a rebound of energy prices and some upgrades in service rates. Manufactured products excluding clothing and pharmaceuticals represent 20.6 percent of total weight in the index.

Food prices, which account for 16.4 percent of the index decreased slightly in January on a monthly basis.

After adjusting for volatile items, core inflation rose to 0.8 percent in January from 0.7 percent in December. Core consumer prices have improved by 0.1 percent month-on-month in January.

Inflation as per the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP), a consumer price index which is compiled according to a methodology that has been harmonised across EU countries, dropped to 1.4 percent in January from 1.5 percent in December. Economists expected inflation to rise to 1.6 percent.

The previous lowest level of the index was in January 2010, when it showed a reading of 1.2 percent.

HICP declined 0.6 percent in January on a monthly basis following a 0.4 percent increase in December.

On 19 February, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that the country will miss its growth forecast for 2013 along with the deficit target. Fabius said that growth rate would be around 0.2 to 0.3 percent for 2013, lower than the previous forecast of 0.8 percent.