T he French economy can look forward to continued steady growth in 2018, thanks to a sharply improved business climate. France’s return to economic growth should remain on course in 2018, in step with its European neighbors, the national statistics agency said.
Citing a “buoyant” world environment, INSEE revised its growth estimate for 2017 upward from 1.8% to 1.9%. “Growth has set in since the end of 2016 at a steady rate of around 0.5% per quarter,” INSEE official Julien Pouget told a news conference, predicting that the upward trend would last through mid-2018, AFP reported.
The European Central Bank last week forecast growth for the 19-member eurozone at 2.3% for next year, a leap from its September estimate of 1.8%.
French GDP growth is driven by a sharply improved business climate, reducing dependence on household consumption. But it is well shy of EU powerhouse Germany’s forecast by the ECB at 2.6% for this year and 2.5% in 2018.
In especially good news for France’s centrist President Emmanuel Macron, French unemployment is expected to stabilize at around 9.4% by mid-2018, its lowest level since early 2012. Joblessness was a constant thorn in the side for Macron’s Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, who failed to move the needle much below 10% during his single term in power.
Macron, elected in May, promised during his campaign to bring the rate down to 7% by the end of his term in 2022.