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France

French economy grows

media shoto) na mku Michel Sapin with IMF boss Christine Lagarde AFP/AFP

France's economy grew 1.1 percent in 2015, its biggest jump in four years. The government is hailing the growth as confirmation of a turnaround after years of economic stagnation.

The eurozone's second-biggest economy posted growth of 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 0.3 percent in the July-September period, national statistics agency INSEE said

The full-year growth figure, up from 0.2 percent in 2014, was in line with the government's predictions but lagged the 1.5-percent growth expected in the wider eurozone in 2015, according to INSEE.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the fact that output had continued expanding in the fourth quarter.

This despite devastating jihadist attacks that left 130 people dead in November and dealt a severe blow to tourism, showed "the French did not give up".

"2015 was the year of the recovery," Sapin said, predicting that the trend would "intensify in 2016" and spur job creation.

In a sign of increased consumer confidence, consumer spending shot up 1.4 percent in 2015, while business investment grew 2 percent year-on-year.

The figures provide some rare good news for the Socialist government after further disappointment on the jobs front this week.

On Wednesday, the labour ministry announced that unemployment -- the scourge of President Francois Hollande's administration -- had risen again in December, taking the number of jobless to a new record of 3.59 million.

 

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