(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) France's budget deficit shrunk far faster than
forecast in 2011, with the gap between spending and revenue falling
to 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), dpa quoted President Nicolas
Sarkozy as announcing Friday.
The government had been targeting a deficit of 5.7 per cent, down
from 7.1 per cent in 2010.
'France has done much better thanks to the efforts of the French,'
Sarkozy, who is campaigning for reelection in April, told Europe 1
But while the deficit showed improvements after two austerity
plans introduced last year, France's public debt climbed faster than
expected, figures released Friday showed.
The debt hit 1.7 billion euros (2.3 billion dollars), equivalent
to 85.8 per cent of GDP - a sharp increase on the 82.3 per cent
registered in 2010, the national statistics agency INSEE said.
France's high public debt and deficit levels were among the
factors that led the Standard & Poor's ratings agency to downgrade
the country's AAA credit rating in January.
Both Sarkozy and his Socialist rival for president, Francois
Hollande, have pledged to reduce the budget deficit to 3 per cent of
GDP by 2013.