World Economy

French 2017 GDP Growth Revised Upwards

French 2017 GDP Growth Revised UpwardsFrench 2017 GDP Growth Revised Upwards

France’s economy grew 2.2% in 2017, according to revised figures published Tuesday—good news for President Emmanuel Macron as he pursues ambitious reforms designed to make the country more competitive.

National statistics office INSEE revised its growth for last year up from 2%, while revising down the public debt ratio by a slight 0.2% to 96.8%, The Local reported.

Inflation was steady in April at 1.6%, supported by a rise in energy prices, INSEE said.

The eurozone’s second biggest economy added 57,900 private sector jobs in the first quarter of 2018—growth of 0.3%, representing a slight slowdown from the end of 2017, according to INSEE’s preliminary estimates.  Over a year, France added 270,200 jobs, a rise of 1.4%.

Business-friendly Macron has spent his first year in office pushing for deep reforms in France, passing controversial changes to the rigid labor code intended to make it easier to hire and fire people.

He has also cut wealth taxes as part of measures to boost investment, a policy that has earned him the label of “president of the rich” among his opponents.

France is optimistic it can reach an agreement with Germany on proposals for a eurozone budget and other reform plans by June, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying it would be “irresponsible” to delay any longer.

Since coming to power a year ago, Macron has made eurozone reform a priority, but his ability to deliver depends on reaching agreement with Germany on the best way forward and convincing the rest of the eurozone to back the ideas.

“The eurozone cannot withstand economic divergences among its member states. It won’t hold together,” Le Maire told reporters late Monday. “I think it’s time to dot the i’s,” he said. “It would be irresponsible to wait any longer. History will judge us harshly.”

An adviser to Macron affirmed the need for Franco-German agreement and said he was optimistic Berlin and Paris would have a common framework to present to other eurozone leaders ahead of a summit in Brussels on June 28-29. “Our conversations with Germany lead us to be more confident than not,” the adviser told reporters on Tuesday.

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