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France avoids recession with 0.3 per cent growth in third quarter

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin gave a cautious welcome to the growth figures
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin gave a cautious welcome to the growth figures Reuters/John Schults

France has surprised economic forecasters with growth of 0.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2014. Germany’s economy also grew slightly, meaning that both countries avoided recession – a rare piece of good news for the eurozone.

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A preliminary estimate from France’s statistics institute, Insee, put French third-quarter growth at 0.3 per cent, following a contraction of 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.

Germany also experienced growth – at 0.1 per cent – after GDP falling 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Economists had feared that both countries would experience negative growth for a second quarter, meaning that they would be considered to be in recession and have a knock-on effect across Europe.

France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the French data confirmed the government's forecast of 0.4 per cent growth for the full year.

"Economic activity has picked up slightly but remains too weak to ensure the job creation our country needs," he commented.

Despite the growth figures, the number of jobs fell in the third quarter by 34,100, 0.2 per cent, according to the Insee.

The number of businesses set up in France rose 0.3 per cent in October.
 

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