RTTNews - The French economy grew 0.3% sequentially in the second quarter, while economists expected a fall of 0.3%, the statistical office INSEE reported Thursday. This unexpected growth was partly due to the narrowing of the foreign trade balance. In the first quarter, GDP was down 1.3%, revised down from the initial 1.2% decline.

Foreign trade contributed 0.9 points to GDP growth in the second quarter as exports rose 1% and imports decreased at a milder pace. Household consumption rose 0.4% and total gross fixed capital formation dropped 1%. Meanwhile, production increased 0.5%, following a 1.9% drop in the first quarter. Inventory changes made a negative contribution of 0.6 points to GDP.

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told RTL radio that the second quarter data was very surprising. After four negative quarters France is coming out of the red.

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