French economy records zero growth

France’s economy did not grow in the first quarter of the year, raising concerns that the country could be headed towards a recession.

GDP was stagnant from January to March, the national statistics agency Insee said.

It also revised down growth in the fourth quarter of last year from 0.2% to 0.1%. Some analysts expect GDP to start contracting next quarter.

The news came on the same day that president-elect Francois Hollande takes office, vowing to restore France’s growth by investing in infrastructure and small businesses. But he has also promised to rein in the deficit – a task made harder by stagnating growth.

Mr Hollande built his programme around an expectation of 0.5% GDP growth for the year. That is in line with the EU’s forecast.

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