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News Link • European Union

French president: zero growth so far this year

• http://hosted.ap.org, By MASHA MACPHERSON
 France enjoyed a boost in investor confidence with a successful bond auction Monday - but also got a warning from the president that growth so far this year is "nil" and that the country needs to rethink its social model.

France's government sold (EURO)6 billlion in short-term bonds at negative interest rates Monday, as investors flock to the perceived safety of Europe's larger economies. It was the first time rates entered negative territory, according to the French Treasury.

France's borrowing costs have been dropping in recent months as those in neighboring Spain have soared and raised fears that it, too, will need a bailout.
 

France, the No. 2 economy in Europe, has high debts of its own and 10-percent unemployment, and is struggling to avoid a new recession.

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