Economy picks up but still lags eurozone partners

13th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) , The French economy gathered steam last year, when growth came to 2.0 percent, but the pace lagged momentum recorded in some of France's key eurozone partners, official figures showed Tuesday.

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) 

The French economy gathered steam last year, when growth came to 2.0 percent, but the pace lagged momentum recorded in some of France's key eurozone partners, official figures showed Tuesday.

The national statistics institute INSEE said in a first estimate that the economy expanded when compared with growth of 1.2 percent in 2005. Growth in the fourth quarter came to 0.7 percent after 0.6 percent in the same period of 2005.

Last year's performance, if confirmed, would be at the low end of the government's 2.0-2.5 percent forecast.

"The performance of the French economy is relatively modest, considering that the international environment last year ws especially positive," said analyst Mathieu Kaiser of the bank BNP Paribas.

France is also among the slow coaches in the 13-nation eurozone, where growth came to 2.7 percent in 2006.

National economies expanded 2.7 percent in Germany, 3.8 percent in Spain, 5.5 percent in Finland and 6.2 percent in Ireland.

At financial analysis group Asteres Nicolas Bouzou said the French economy was powered mainly by consumption and the services sector but lacks in particular "a competitive and innovative industrial core."

Analysts this year see few chances for a rebound.

Economist Marc Touati said that the strength of the euro and factors linked to presidential elections in April and May should limit growth to 1.6 percent in 2007 rather than the 2.0-2.5 percent foreseen by the government.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, GDP

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