French growth fastest for four years

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French flag and Eiffel towerImage copyright
AP

France’s economy grew at its fastest pace in four years with a jump of 1.1% in 2015, providing a boost for the socialist government, which is still tackling record unemployment.

The eurozone’s second-biggest economy grew 0.2% in the fourth quarter, down from 0.3% in July-September.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin said “the French did not give up” despite the Paris attacks.

Gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in the city in November.

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Mr Sapin said: “2015 was the year of recovery” and he predicted this would intensify in 2016.

The country’s national statistics agency Insee said the full-year growth figures were up from 0.2% in 2014.

This was in line with government predictions, but they haven’t reached the 1.5% growth expected in the wider eurozone in 2015 by the European Commission.

Over the year there was an increase in consumer confidence with spending up 1.4%, while business investment grew 2% year-on-year.

The figures provide a boost for President Hollande’s government after disappointing job data showed that in December the number of jobless reached a new record of 3.59m.

Figures for eurozone inflation are due out later in the morning.

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