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Jun 4, 2015 5:06 AM

French bank optimistic on growth; unemployment still high

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) France's central bank is slightly raising growth projections for this year and next, thanks to the weak euro and low oil prices and an improving business climate as the French economy struggles to rise out of years of recession and stagnation.

The bank said Thursday it predicts 1.2 percent GDP growth this year and 1.8 percent next year. That is above previous government forecasts of 1 percent growth in 2015 and 1.5 percent in 2016.

Unemployment fell slightly, according to figures released Thursday, but remains above 10 percent.

President Francois Hollande, whose Socialist government is slowly reforming costly labor protections, is visiting a tea production plant Thursday in Marseille taken over by workers after a long battle with former owner Unilever. The fight symbolized France's struggle to remain globally competitive.


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