French GDP growth confirmed at 0.2% in third quarter

Posted on November 29, 2016

Back to growth.

France’s economic growth accelerated by 0.2 per cent in the three months to the end of September as attention turns to the country’s presidential elections next year, a second reading of the data confirmed today.

The French economy has been struggling to generate any sustained momentum in 2016, having slipped into a surprise 0.1 per cent contraction in the middle of the year.

The figures for the third quarter from stats office Insee on Tuesday, means French GDP growth matched that of Germany over the same period and came in line with expectations.

On Sunday, former prime minister François Fillon was elected to stand for the opposition right-wing Republican party in presidential elections held in April and May next year.

Mr Fillon is promising a dose of shock economic medicine for the French economy, including 500,000 public sector job cuts, a raising of the retirement age and a hike to the 35-hour working week (read more on his plans here).

According to Insee, imports rebounded to grow by 2.5 per cent in the quarter, from a contraction of 1.7 per cent, while consumer spending growth stagnated and investment edged up by 0.2 per cent.

The French economy is set to be driven by higher consumer demand at the end of the year, with Insee reporting a strong 0.9 per cent rise in October consumer spending numbers – bouncing back from a 0.4 per cent contraction in the previous month.

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