The French economy is expected to contract by 0.1 percent this year, with unemployment rate steadily growing, according to official figures released on Thursday. The eurozone's second largest economy would grow 0.2 percent in the second quarter before stagnating and edging up 0.1 percent in the third and fourth quarters respectively, the national statistics agency (INSEE) predicted in its quarterly economic report. The government had previously expected a slight growth of 0.1 percent for the whole year. Household consumption and investment, accounting for 76 percent of the gross domestic product, are predicted to fall by 0.1 and 2.6 percent respectively, according to the report. But, thanks to a rebound in foreign demand, expected to help stabilizing manufacturing activity, France would have to depend on its sales abroad to create dynamism and lessen the recession pace, it added. The ailing economy, which has not grown significantly since the third quarter of 2011, resulted in high unemployment. According to the report, France's jobless rate would reach 10.7 percent this year, higher than the 10.3 percent reported in the first quarter. Opening his second social conference on Thursday, French President Francois reiterated his promise to reverse "durably" the unemployment trend by the end of 2013. "I stated a commitment to reversing the long-term unemployment curve, not a month, not two months but sustainably ... at the end of the year. I want to reaffirm my will and my conviction," he said. With the fresh grim economic data, however, the Socialists' prospects to create more wealth and trim jobless look dim and likely to stir further deluge of criticism over their policy, widely considered ineffective to fix the country's economic troubles. Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/business/2013-06/21/c_132473549.htm
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