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France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing de Gaulle's 1966 decision to take French forces out of NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.


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Economy - overview
France was transitioning from an economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms but is in the midst of a euro-zone crisis. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, and has ceded stakes in such leading firms as Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. It maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. France's real GDP contracted 2.6% in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011. The unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to 9.3% in 2010 and 9.1% in 2011. Lower-than-expected growth and increased unemployment have cut government revenues and increased borrowing costs, contributing to a deterioration of France's public finances. The government budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 5.8% of GDP in 2011, while France's public debt rose from 68% of GDP to 86% over the same period. Under President SARKOZY, Paris implemented austerity measures that eliminated tax credits and froze most government spending in an effort to bring the budget deficit under the 3% euro-zone ceiling by 2013 and to highlight France's commitment to fiscal discipline at a time of intense financial market scrutiny of euro-zone debt levels. Socialist Francois HOLLANDE won the May 2012 presidential election, after advocating pro-growth economic policies, as well as measures such as forcing banks to separate their traditional deposit taking and lending activities from more speculative businesses, increasing taxes on bank profits, introducing a new top bracket on income taxes for people earning over €1 million ($1.3 million) a year, and hiring an additional 60,000 civil servants during his five-year term of office.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 10
$2.246 trillion (2011 est.)
$2.208 trillion (2010 est.)
$2.178 trillion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$2.776 trillion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 158
1.7% (2011 est.)
1.4% (2010 est.)
-2.6% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 35
$35,600 (2011 est.)
$35,200 (2010 est.)
$34,800 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 1.8%
Industry 18.8%
Services 79.4% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 21
29.61 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 3.8%
Industry 24.3%
Services 71.8% (2005)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 105
9.3% (2011 est.)
9.3% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
6.2% (2004)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 3%
Highest 10% 24.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 100
32.7 (2008)
32.7 (1995)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 99
19.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $1.386 trillion
Expenditures $1.535 trillion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 21
49.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 165
-5.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 20
84.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
82.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
Data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 35
2.3% (2011 est.)
1.7% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 113
1.75% (31 December 2011)
1.75% (31 December 2010)
This is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 172
3.6% (31 December 2011 est.)
3.373% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 7
$901.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$887.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
See entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 7
$2.57 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$2.335 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 7
$4.319 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
$4.121 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 8
$1.569 trillion (31 December 2011)
$1.926 trillion (31 December 2010)
$1.972 trillion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish

Machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 115
2.4% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 8
510 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 9
460.9 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
44.91 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
25.7 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 53
84,820 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 13
1.861 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 30
487,200 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 9
2.22 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 72
91.63 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 64
721 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 16
49.78 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 34
2.945 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 7
46.2 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 84
6.796 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 189
-$65.6 billion (2011 est.)
-$44.5 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 6
$587.1 billion (2011 est.)
$517.2 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages

Exports - partners
Germany 16.7%, Italy 8.3%, Spain 7.4%, Belgium 7.4%, UK 6.7%, US 5%, Netherlands 4.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 6
$688.5 billion (2011 est.)
$588.4 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals

Imports - partners
Germany 19.1%, Belgium 11.3%, Italy 7.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Spain 6.6%, UK 5.1%, China 4.8% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 17
$171.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$166.2 billion

Debt - external World Ranking: 4
$5.633 trillion (30 June 2011)
$4.698 trillion (30 June 2010)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 2
$1.202 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.161 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 2
$1.86 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.746 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7194 (2011 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
0.7345 (2007 est.)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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