French minister: 2011 deficit drops to 5.3 percent

AP News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2012 2:52 PM
French minister: 2011 deficit drops to 5.3 percent

France's finance minister says the country's deficit fell to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product last year, coming in slightly better than government expectations.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is facing a tough re-election campaign, has staked his credibility on meeting a series of deficit targets, but slower than predicted growth has dogged those efforts. France hasn't balanced a budget in three decades, but Sarkozy has promised to by 2016.

Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Tuesday that the 2011 budget deficit beat the government's expectation of a deficit of 5.7 percent of GDP.

Baroin spoke at an economic conference in Paris.