French economy enters recession

PARIS (AP) -- While economic numbers in the U.S. have not yet met the technical definition of a recession, they have in France.

The country's national statistics agency says the French economy is expected to contract in the third and fourth quarters. The agency says the contraction should be about one-tenth percent in each quarter. That follows a three-tenths fall in the second quarter. For the year, France's economy is expected to have grown 0.9 percent.

France's finance minister had previously rejected suggestions that the country was headed for a recession. But, Christine Lagarde says "the risk of negative growth" is now real.

She blames high oil prices, the strength of the euro earlier this year and the financial crisis for the recession. But she says the government is "totally mobilized" to protect French consumers and the priority should be put on restoring confidence if the financial markets.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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