French growth accelerated in the fourth quarter as part of a wider economic expansion in the region that is fueling a debate about how quickly the European Central Bank (ECB) should trim stimulus.
French GDP rose 0.4 percent in the October-December period, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies said.
That matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey and compared with 0.2 percent growth in the previous three months.
The figures suggest that France is contributing to the eurozone’s recovery after lagging both Germany and Spain in recent years.
With inflation also picking up across the region, discussion about the ECB’s 2.28 trillion euro (US$2.4 trillion) bond-buying program is set to intensify.
“The eurozone is getting good nominal growth and rising inflation, a scenario in which pressure on the ECB is going to increase,” Societe Generale SA London-based economist Michel Martinez said. “There are fewer and fewer people who will understand the need to continue doing quantitative easing.”
In the eurozone, growth probably accelerated from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, while the inflation rate last month rose from 1.1 percent in December last year to 1.5 percent, separate Bloomberg surveys showed.
Household spending and corporate investment spurred France’s fourth-quarter expansion, allowing domestic demand to contribute 0.6 percentage point to growth, the institute said, adding that external trade added 0.1 percentage points.
The French economy last year grew 1.1 percent, compared with 3.2 percent in Spain and 1.9 percent in Germany.
France’s expansion was dented last year, as multiple terrorist attacks caused a drop in tourism and unusual weather hit farm output.
Yet, by the final quarter, tourism was beginning to revive, while low interest rates were spurring construction and tax cuts were driving investment, Martinez said.
As a result, sentiment among factory executives climbed to a five-year high and consumer confidence is at its strongest since 2007.
“Despite global political risks, 2017 begins with good economic conditions,” French Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Michel Sapin said in a statement.
Even so, the unemployment rate remains stuck at close to 10 percent, compared with about 4 percent in Germany, Eurostat data showed.
The lack of job creation and the lagging recovery forced French President Francois Hollande to in December declare that he would not seek re-election.
France’s presidential election is scheduled for two rounds on April 23 and May 7.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US