Boost for France's economy in 2015

French statistics agency predicts slight growth in 2015, thanks to low oil prices and the weakness of the euro

THE FRENCH economy is set for slight growth next year thanks to low oil prices and the weakness of the euro - but it won’t be enough to bring about a drop in unemployment, national statistics agency INSEE has said.

In its forecast, INSEE said that it expects growth of just 0.1% in the final quarter of 2014, strengthening to 0.3% expansion in the first two quarters of 2015.

"Autumn’s economic data suggest broadly stable growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, before a more pronounced improvement in the first half 2015," it said.

The study indicated that the French economy should expand by at least 0.7% ub the first half of the year - but INSEE refused to be drawn on an estimate for full-year 2015 growth.

President François Hollande has welcomed the report. "We are in line with respect to our growth forecast for 2015," he said.

"In simple terms, this means that we will be almost two thirds of the way to 1% growth at the end of 2015.”

The glimmer of good economic news did not extend to employment, with INSEE saying it expects French unemployment to rise 0.2% to to 10.6% by mid-2015, as businesses hold back on implementing major investment plans.

Mr Hollande said that the fragile recovery demonstrated that France needs to be more competitive to improve medium- and long-term growth expectations, and said that government reforms, such as the Macron law will help stimulate growth.

INSEE also warned that the situation in Ukraine is likely to have a "limited impact on trade in the euro area, but could weigh on investment."