French Economy Grew 1.9% in 2017, Most Since 2011

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The French economy accelerated sharply in 2017 to record its largest expansion since 2011, statistics showed Tuesday.

Gross domestic product in the eurozone's second-largest economy rose 1.9% in 2017 from 2016, national statistics agency Insee said.

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Growth was spread evenly through the year, with a slight acceleration to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of the year from 0.5% in the third quarter. The figures were in line with economist expectations.

The acceleration in 2017 from 1.1% growth in 2016 marks the end of half a decade of French inertia that has kept unemployment close to 10% and held back the broader European recovery.

Eurozone GDP figures published later Tuesday are expected to show France's resurgence helped drive growth in the currency bloc to its highest level since 2007.

France picked up pace in 2017 as tailwinds from rising global demand and the European Central Bank's expansionary policies coincided with a confidence boost from the election of Emmanuel Macron. Firms and investors have applauded the pro-business president's steps to cut red tape and taxes that economists have long blamed for the country's relative economic malaise.

Investment by non-financial companies rose 4.3% in 2017, Insee's statistics showed Tuesday. The outlook for investment is also strong as the statistics bureau's monthly business surveys are running at decade-highs.

French consumers--traditionally the economy's main driver--also supported economic growth in 2017, although less so than the previous year. Consumer spending rose 1.3% after a 2.1% increase in 2016.

Write to William Horobin at william.horobin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 30, 2018 02:01 ET (07:01 GMT)

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