By Marcus Leach

As European markets continued to struggle on Friday there was further bad news for France as figures released revealed that their economic growth had stagnated in the second quarter.

The pressure is now mounting on President Nicolas Sarkozy who, despite tough global economic times, is trying to convince nervous financial markets that he can deliver on debt reduction targets.

Having seen the economic output at 0.9% for the opening quarter of the year, the best figures in five years, France's statistics office revealed that the second quarter was at 0%.

“The increasing strain being felt in France has prompted a bout of rumours regarding a French credit downgrade," Jeremy Cook, Chief Economist from currency brokers, World First, said.

"This speculation will gather pace now that it has been established that the country has experienced zero growth in the second quarter of the year.

"Although far from certain, negative growth remains a very real possibility for the French. The pressure is building and is likely to continue to intensify over the next few months.”

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