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France given boost as economy grows faster than expected

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France given boost as economy grows faster than expected
Photo: AFP
11:00 CET+01:00
The French economy grew by a faster-than-expected 2 percent in 2017, as investment and output picked up in the fourth quarter, revised figures from the national statistics agency INSEE showed on Wednesday.
At 2 percent, full-year growth is nearly a full percentage point above the 1.1 percent recorded in 2016, the data showed, providing a further boost for President Emmanuel Macron after good news on the jobs front earlier this month.
   
But the performance of the eurozone's second-biggest economy still fell short of 2.5 percent growth for the single currency area as a whole in 2017 and 2.2 percent for Germany.
   
The government had officially projected full-year growth to come in at 1.7 percent, but in January said that stronger-than-expected investment and production figures could take it closer to two percent.
 
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Business district La Defense, Paris. Photo: AFP
 
INSEE revised its previous estimate upwards by 0.1 points after pushing its fourth-quarter growth figure up from 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent.
   
For 2018, the agency has projected growth of 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent respectively in the first and second quarters, but not yet issued a full-year projection.
   
The International Monetary Fund is expecting the French economy to expand by 1.9 percent this year.
 
The growth figures on Wednesday come hot on the heels of data showing the unemployment rate at the end of 2017 at its lowest level since 2009.
   
The jobless rate in all of France, including overseas territories, fell to 8.9 percent in the final quarter of 2017.
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