French deficit lower than expected

France’s public deficit fell to 5.2 per cent of GDP in 2011, significantly below the government’s target of 5.7 per cent, statistics agency Insee has announced.

That is down from 7.1 per cent in 2010, thanks in part to the end of one-off spending measures.

Insee said public spending shrank last year, with tax returns rising to 43.8 per cent of GDP, up from 42.5 per cent in 2010.

The country remains on track to meet to meet its deficit goal of 4.5 per cent for the end of 2012, and hopes to fall below the European Union ceiling of 3 per cent by the end of 2013.