France Confirms 0.6% GDP Growth

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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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.