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French central bank chief raises French growth outlook to 1.6 pct

PARIS, July 6 (Reuters) - France should see growth this year of 1.6 percent even though its economic recovery is lagging the broader euro zone, French central bank head Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Thursday, raising slightly his forecast.

"It's a real recovery even if it remains moderate. France is going to be at less than the 2 percent growth of the euro zone," Villeroy said on France Inter radio, ahead of the presentation of an annual letter to President Emmanuel Macron.

"France should be at 1.6 percent," he added. Last month, the Bank of France forecast France would see growth of 1.4 percent this year.

As the economy recovered, the unemployment rate could be expected to fall to around nine percent, but a rate of around seven percent was in reach if ambitious reforms were carried out, he said.

Villeroy also said that tax cuts planned by the government over the next five years were "lucid and courageous," and that its plans to limit spending growth to no faster than the rate of inflation was "reasonable." (Reporting by Simon Carraud and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)