France confirms 0.6% GDP growth

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France’s GDP grew by 0.6% in the first quarter after a rise in corporate profit margins and strong household spending, official figures show.

Corporate profit margins rose to 31.1%, the highest since the first quarter of 2011, after a cut in payroll tax.

The official figures by INSEE were a further sign of economy recovery, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said.

The French economy saw roughly 0.4% growth in 2013 and 2014, after stagnating in 2012.

The rise in first-quarter gross domestic product was in line with a preliminary estimate by the French statistics office.

“INSEE confirmed the good growth figures of the first quarter, which show a recovery is underway and bolsters the government’s 1% growth target for this year,” Mr Sapin said.

Profit margins for French companies were the worst in the eurozone in 2012, and the government had pinned its recovery hopes on expectations that businesses would resume investing.

“The new margins must allow businesses to invest and hire,” Mr Sapin added.

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