France, Eurozone' second largest economy recorded zero growth in the first three months of the year on weak consumption and wane investment, shrouding in doubts the government's pledge of an "economic turnaround," figures released by national statistics institute, Insee showed Thursday.
Inching up by 0.2 percent in last quarter of 2013, French growth stagnated for the January-March of 2014 as households expenditure and investment, the economy 'growth engines, fell by 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent respectively
Growth of sales abroad slowed to 0.3 percent compared to 1.6 percent a quarter earlier, while imports rose by 0.5 percentage point to 1 percent. "Consequently, the foreign trade balance contributed negatively to GDP change," the Insee said.
The Socialist government said working to accelerate growth by 1 percent this year by breathing life into sluggish competitiveness of domestic companies and squeezing public spending.
However, high unemployment and double digit budget deficit likely to throw a spanner into the government's economic target, analysts said.
Speaking to the local broadcaster Europe1, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the quarterly pale economic performance was not a surprise.
"Growth picked up slightly at the end of the year. This year, it will be higher than zero of course, but it will be insufficient. It must be accelerated," he said.
"(Growth stagnation) is not serious. It reinforces the whole policy that we are adopting today," he added referring to the responsibility pact," with which the government hoped to muscle economic growth, reach health finances and cut jobless rate currently at 11 percent.