French economy smashes expectations and moves past Germany, UK & US

France has pulled its weight in the Eurozone economy in Q1 with larger-than-expected growth figures putting Germany, UK and the US in the shadows.

The Eurozone’s second largest economy posted growth of 0.6% in the period January to March. This caught many analysts by surprise, especially considering the period of zero growth in the previous quarter (Q4 2014).

Reports from Insee, the French nationals statistics office put the jump in growth down to a surge in spending by consumers. Car sales and housing good were the main contributors to consumer spending, which was also up in Q1 2015 despite the usual lull towards the end of March as less money is spent on heating.

The 0.6% economic growth rate was France’s largest for two years, whilst Germany’s growth dropped by more than 50% from 0.7% to 0.3%. France even overtook the UK in this period.

Italy also posted good growth levels and led the Eurozone economy as a whole put up its own 0.4% figure for Q1 2015 and this will go someway to alleviating fears that the single currency bloc was stuck in an economic rut.