French economy flatlining – new figures

French economy flatlining - new figures
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The French economy was flat in the last three months of 2011, the Bank of France said Tuesday, confirming an earlier estimate amid concerns the eurozone debt crisis could spark a recession.

The French central bank said there was no growth between the third and fourth quarters of 2011, an outcome which should allow the government to come very close to meeting its full-year target for a 1.5 percent expansion.

Third quarter growth had come in at 0.3 percent, the national statistics institute INSEE said last month.

On the basis of the third quarter performance, the French economy should grow 1.7 percent growth for the year, it said.

INSEE said last month it expected France to fall into a brief recession, with the economy contracting 0.2 percent in the three months to December and another 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

A recession is defined as at least two consecutive quarters of negative quarter-on-quarter growth.

In a separate statement, INSEE said Tuesday that industrial production in November was up 1.1 percent compared with October, while manufacturing posted a gain of 1.3 percent.