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French economy to lift in 2015, but not jobs

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French economy to lift in 2015, but not jobs
France seems to be in for a small economic upswing next year. Photo: Kenteegardin/Flickr
10:16 CET+01:00
In its latest forecast, France's national statistics agency predicts that the French economy will experience a slight boost next year, much thanks to lower oil prices and a weaker euro, but warns it won't be enough to reverse the country's soaring unemployment.

In its forecast, the INSEE agency said that although it expected growth of just 0.1 percent in the finalquarter of 2014, it predicts a 0.3 percent expansion in the first two quarters of 2015.

While the agency declined to stipulate estimates for full-year 2015 growth,its study included first semester figures indicating the French economy should expand by a minimum of 0.7 percent next year.

Hope for an even stronger recovery was offered in INSEE's forecast foreconomic activity to increase by 1.0 percent between the summers of 2014 and 2015. Growth was flat between the same periods in 2013-2014.

The projections are in line with government estimates of 1.0 percent growthnext year.

But despite the improved prospects for growth in the eurozone's second-largest economy, INSEE said the good news would not extend to the country's persistently high jobless rate.

In fact, INSEE sees French unemployment rising to 10.6 percent by mid-2015,up from 10.4 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

The agency said French companies were expected to continue sitting oninvestment plans -- which fuel job creation -- well into 2015.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin described the agency's forecast as"confirming the government's growth scenario" but still not "strong enough" to ease the country's employment or public finance ills.

While warning its growth estimates would depend on oil prices and theeuro's exchange rate, INSEE said it expected the price of oil to continue falling to levels below those used in its forecast.

Lower oil prices help boost consumer spending while a weaker euro makesFrench exports cheaper.

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