French economy grows 0.2% in first quarter

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French economy grows 0.2% in first quarter
France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has welcomed better-than-anticipated figures.


France's economy grew 0.2 percent in the first quarter on the back of greater industrial production and foreign trade, national statistics agency INSEE has reported.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire hailed the "solidity" of the French economy.

"Companies are continuing to invest and create jobs, bringing us closer to our objective of full employment," he added.

The figure was marginally higher than the 0.1 percent expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) forecast by the statistics agency earlier, and higher than the zero growth recorded in the final quarter of last year.

Household consumption, a key component of economic demand, was flat after having dropped by 1.0 percent in the final quarter of last year.

Inflation has eroded the purchasing power of many French people, raising concerns about a hit to consumer consumption and the overall economy.

Food consumption fell by 2.3 percent as food price inflation hit double digits in France. The drop is the fifth straight quarterly decline.


French households spent more on energy, however, although INSEE said a later payment in subsidies by the government was responsible in part for the increase.

A series of strikes over the first three months of the year over an increases in the minimum pension age had only a limited impact on the economy.

INSEE noted that production at oil refineries actually rose even though strikes there had been more intense in the final quarter of last year.

Manufacturing rose by 0.7 percent and the reopening of nuclear power plants following repairs helped drive a 3.1 percent increase in energy production.


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