Zero growth for France in first quarter

The French economy posted zero growth in the first quarter of this year following a weak 0.1 percent expansion in the fourth quarter of 2011, the INSEE national statistics institute said Friday, confirming an earlier estimate.

On Tuesday, INSEE forecast that the French economy would grow only 0.4 percent in 2012, slightly less than the 0.5 percent previously forecast and budgeted by the government.

“France will suffer from a contraction in internal demand from its eurozone partners, which will hurt exports, and its efforts to consolidate its budget,” INSEE’s research director Eric Dubois had said.

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