Anne-Juliette Bessone, Vladimir Passeron, Aurélien Poissonnier, département des Comptes nationaux, Insee
The French economy continued to grow in 2011, with gross domestic product (GDP) in constant euros gaining 1.7% on an annual-average basis as in 2010. Growth is being fuelled by business demand, as firms accelerate their investment expenditures and rebuild their inventories after a two-year drawdown. Imports and exports are expanding in tandem, neutralizing the contribution of external trade to growth. By contrast, consumer spending, which had quickened in 2010, edged up by a mere 0.3%. The purchasing power of gross household disposable income rose at a slower pace, as inflation outpaced the increase in earned income. The household saving rate posted a very mild gain, but non-financial corporations registered a sharp fall in their margin ratio and-even more so-in their self-financing ratio.