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French ministry sees economy shrinking 1.5 pc

PARIS, March 2 – The French economy ministry expects the economy to shrink by 1.5 percent this year but to grow in 2010, a source close to Economy Minister Christine Lagarde told AFP on Monday.

The figure given by the source was in line with figures in press reports.

The government had been forecasting earlier that growth would shrink by "at least one percent" this year.

The new estimate will be integrated into an adjusting finance bill to be put before a meeting of the government on Wednesday.

The ministry expects the economy to grow by "more than one percent" in 2010, the source said.

Sources close to the minister also said that more than 300,000 jobs were likely to be lost in the French economy this year, in line with the trend in the last quarter of last year when 89,000 jobs were lost.

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