L'économie française - Comptes et dossiers - 2007 ed.
Overview of the French economy in 2006
The global economy posted another excellent performance in 2006. Its annual average growth moved up from 4.5% to 5.0%, amid strong resilience to higher energy prices. The U.S. economy's gradual loss of vigor was cushioned by the pick-up in the euro zone and the persistence of brisk growth in Asia. The monetary tightening widely implemented around the world had few visible effects on the real economy. Moreover, the persistence of low interest rates and the improvement in corporate financial positions stimulated mergers and acquisitions, in which investment funds have become key players. The French economy regained momentum in 2006, its average annual growth quickening from 1.7% to 2.0%. Exports rose at a faster pace of 5.5%, resulting in a less negative contribution of external trade to GDP growth. Robust increases in earned income and asset income boosted household purchasing power. As a result, household consumption stayed on an uptrend, gaining 2.1%. Business-investment growth accelerated to 4.1%, while the rise in household residential investment registered only a mild slowdown to 4.5%. Employment continued to recover. Its 0.8% increase, driven by the construction and service sectors, led to significant decline in unemployment.