French economy to hit 6-year high in 2017: Insee

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PARIS, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- After a spluttering performance, France, Eurozone's second major power, will see its economy expand by 1.8 percent in 2017, the highest performance since 2011, thanks to rising investments and consumer spending, according to data released Thursday by Insee, the national statistics institute.

This is a brighter prospect than Insee's previous estimate of a 1.6-percent growth this year. In 2016, it was a sluggish 1.1 percent.

The new economic outlook paints a rosy picture of domestic economic activities, saying the French business climate has attained its highest level since 2011, while for the industrial sector, it is the highest level since 2007.

Due to business confience growing, France is on course "to show solid growth through to the end of the year," with a 0.5-percent increase anticipated in gross domestic product per quarter.

The return to solid growth stems mainly from a 1.1-percent rise in consumers' spending, the country's main growth engine. A growing global demand will also help French exports grow by 3.3 percent.

An improvement in the business climate will make corporate investment rise by 3.9 percent, from 3.4 percent in 2016. Household investment -- mainly new home purchases - will grow by 5 percent.

In the second half of the year, employment is expected to grow slightly more than labor force growth, driving down unemployment to 9.4 percent at the year-end, compared to 10 percent in 2016.

After a waning economy in the past, Insee's optimistic outlook will be music to the ears of pro-market President Emmanuel Macron, who has seen his popularity slide after his economic reforms prompted public anger. Enditem

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