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Is the recovery finally under way? That is the question being asked after a start to 2016 marked by a series of positive indicators for the French economy. But after several false starts and as many dashed hopes since 2009, caution remains the order of the day. There are grounds for optimism however: growth accelerated in the first quarter and, more importantly, it is no longer solely reliant on household consumption. Business investment appears to be finally picking up and will make a positive contribution to growth this year, for the first time since 2012. The increase in companies' margins made possible by the low oil price and government measures to alleviate the burden on businesses seem to be finally paying off. Company insolvencies are down sharply and are set to shrink by 3.2% for the year as a whole. This trend is reflected in companies of all sizes and in all regions (except for the Ile-de-France and Centre regions).

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