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French economy stagnates in second quarter as investment dries up

Eric Feferberg, AFP file picture |Despite the stagnation recorded in the second quarter, Finance Minister Sapin insists France is on track to post 1 percent growth for the full year

France's economy stagnated in the second quarter after an encouraging 0.7 percent rise in GDP in the three months before, with investment falling away, according to official statistics released Friday.

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Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted that the second biggest economy in the eurozone was still on course to post 1 percent growth over the year as a whole.

"After a very dynamic first quarter, the level of activity has held up," he said.

But the government, which has been pinning its hopes on growth to tackle the country's chronic unemployment problems, will not have been cheered by slowing growth in investment, which rose only 0.2 percent compared to 0.6 percent in the first quarter.

Consumer spending also slowed sharply, from a 0.9 percent rise in the first three months of 2015 to only 0.1 percent in the second quarter.

In one good sign, however, the contribution France's exports made to the economy rose by 0.3 percent, while imports slowed by 1.6 percent.

(AFP)

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