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French economic growth improves

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French economic growth improves

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France’s economy performed better than expected in the first three months of this year.

A surge in consumer spending and a pick-up in business investment meant gross domestic product expanded by 0.6 percent from the previous quarter.

The earlier official estimate from the INSEE statistics office was 0.5 percent.

The brisker growth will be a relief for the government which has forecast 1.5 percent for the whole year.

This comes as unemployment has fallen for the last two months and consumers are more optimistic despite strikes and protests against labour law reforms.

There was a 1.0 percent surge in consumer spending, with INSEE revising sharply upward its March figure in a separate release and a 1.6 percent increase in investment.

The strong increase in domestic demand offset a negative contribution from international trade. Exports were flat while imports increased by 0.6 percent.

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