French economy to grow slowly but surely: statistics office

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's economic recovery will continue but l struggle to pick up pace, with household consumption supporting growth and the jobs market improving slowly, the national statistics office said Thursday.

"France's growth will maintain the same rhythm that it has since it emerged from recession (in the second quarter of 2009)," said National Institute of Statistics and Economics Studies (INSEE) department head Sandrine Duchene.

In the last quarter of 2010, growth should reach 0.5 percent, slightly more than the 0.4 percent that was forecast, to bring the year's rate to 1.6 percent, the statistics office said.

This would correspond with the government's expectations. "I have a strong hope that we are going to make a big 1.6 percent," Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Monday.

Activity would then progress at a slower pace, with gross domestic product (GDP) expected at 0.3 percent and then 0.4 percent in the first and second quarters of next year, INSEE said.

To reach the government's projection of two percent for the whole of 2011, GDP would need to climb to 0.8 percent in the third and fourth sectors, said Duchene, head of the INSEE economic research department.

"We are cautious about the start of 2011," she told reporters, referring to an "less buoyant international environment" and a "still fragile situation in the eurozone" where austerity budgets are being imposed.

© 2010 AFP

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