The French economy grew 0.6% in the final three months of last year as stronger business investment and exports offset slower consumer spending.

This is according to a first estimate from the INSEE official statistics institute today. 

The reading was in line with a Reuters poll of 33 economists, who had also forecast on average that the euro zone's second-biggest economy had grown by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. 

The French economy advanced 0.5% in the third quarter, which INSEE revised down from 0.6% previously. 

The result meant that for 2017 as a whole, the economy grew 1.9%, which means France had its best year in terms of growth last year since 2011. 

In the fourth quarter, consumer spending growth slowed to 0.3% from the previous three months after 0.6% in the third quarter. 

But business investment picked up to 1.5% from 1.1% in the previous three months, as corporate confidence soared in the second half of the year after President Emmanuel Macron's election in May, on the back of an agenda for economic reforms. 

Overall, domestic demand contributed 0.5 percentage points to growth in the quarter while companies drawing down inventories subtracted 0.5 percentage points.

Foreign trade contributed 0.6 percentage points to overall growth thanks the strongest increase in exports since the second quarter of 2010.