French markets must expect a thrashing

While Europe’s recovery seems to be gaining traction, France may have fallen into a triple-dip recession, with GDP shrinking in the fourth quarter of 2013 after a decline in the third.

In December, activity in the French manufacturing and service sectors both shrank. France is now “the sick man of Europe”, says Berenberg Bank’s Holger Schmieding.

A key problem is that over the last few years, while many eurozone countries have tackled structural reforms to boost competitiveness and growth, France has barely made any effort at all.

With high payroll taxes and an inflexible labour market, companies are finding themselves [...]

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