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Insee expects rosy picture of France's growth in H1

Staff writer |
France is expected to accelerate its gross domestic product growth in the first half of the year, according to statistics agency Insee.

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In a economic report released late on Thursday, Insee revised up its growth estimate for the first three months of 2015 to 0.4 percent from previous 0.3 percent, thanks to "the extra purchasing power provided by the greater-than-expected drop in oil prices."

Household consumption will grow by 0.6 percent in the first quarter of the year and by 0.3 percent in the second "mainly due to a bigger rebound in energy consumption," the statistics agency estimated.

The growth forecast for the second quarter remained unchanged at 0.3 percent, it added.

Despite an expected rosy picture of France's growth over the first six months of the year, Insee said high unemployment was still challenging economic recovery in the eurozone's second largest economy.

The jobless rate will grow by one percentage point per quarter, which means jobless claims will stand at 10.2 percent in mainland France for the whole year of 2015, the highest level in two decades.

The ruling Socialists estimated France's economic growth to be 1 percent this year after registering 0.4 percent in 2014.

They also pledged to reduce the number of unemployed people to below 3 million thanks to the one billion euros cut in labor charges and state-sponsored jobs.

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