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French economy grew by meagre 0.4 per cent last year
[PARIS] France's economy expanded by a mere 0.4 per cent last year as investment slumped, official data showed Friday, but the finance minister said growth should pick up this year.
Total investment fell by 1.6 per cent in 2014, a higher drop than the previous year, drawing concern for the eurozone's second largest economy.
Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the lacklustre growth was in line with expectations.
"It's obviously still too weak but conditions are met to allow a more definite upturn in activity in 2015," he told reporters.
The government has so far been unable to kickstart much-needed growth in a country beset by record unemployment.
President Francois Hollande has launched a two-pronged attack to tackle joblessness and push for growth.
The first is known as the Responsibility Pact, a series of tax cuts for businesses in return for job creation.
The second is a package of reforms aimed at opening up France's closed economy, including extending the number of Sundays per year when stores can open their doors.
Most economists believe that France needs a growth rate of around 1.5 per cent to create jobs.
Mr Sapin disputed this, saying just one percent growth - the target for 2015 - is needed.