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PARIS: The IMF on Monday hailed French President Emmanuel Macron's "ambitious" reform programme, saying his spending cuts and tax overhaul could "go a long way in addressing... longstanding economic challenges".

The International Monetary Fund raised its 2017 growth prediction for France by 0.1 points to 1.5 percent and said it could "further accelerate" next year.

"The new government is pushing ahead with an ambitious economic programme to make France's economy more dynamic and its public finances sustainable," the IMF said after its annual analysis of the French economy.

"The envisaged labour and tax reforms are aimed at boosting growth, employment, and competitiveness," it added.

It also said the centrist government under 39-year-old former banker Macron "has rightly emphasized" the need to decrease public spending.

The IMF said such a move "would help gradually reduce the budget deficit and debt".

The government has pledged to meet the EU deficit limit of 3.0 percent of GDP in 2017, a target France has missed for the past decade.

The government said last week it had identified 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in savings in order to meet the goal.

Macron took power in May after beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017

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