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French strikes have no substantial impact on economy

Staff writer |
Weeks of strikes in France over planned labour reforms have not had a substantial impact on the economy but could hurt its tepid recovery if they continue and grow, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said.

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"So far, the strikes have been partial and limited to sectors," Sapin said in the interview with the business newspaper Les Echos. "I don't see any substantial impact on activities."

"Naturally, there are many striking images, but I see no substantial economic effect on activity," he said.

Sapin warned, however, that if the strikes went on for much longer and spread into more sectors, they could hurt France's economic recovery.

The French economy grew a stronger-then-expected 0.6 percent in the first quarter, driven by a surge in consumer spending and a pick-up in business investment. In addition, unemployment fell in April, declining for a second month in a row.

Speaking earlier on Sunday in an interview with LCI television, Sapin said floods in Paris, the worst the French capital has seen in 30 years, would not have a negative impact on the economy because only a limited area of the country was affected.

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