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Global economy 'continues to worsen'

Japan and France are facing continued deterioration in their economies, new official statistics showed today.First, official stats agency Insee said that French GDP would fall by 0.8 per cent between October and December 2008 - worse than initially forecast.This makes it almost certain that an officially-declared recession will follow early next year.Meanwhile, in Japan, the government said that there would be no GDP growth before 2010, as the global economic slowdown continues to bite.Speaking to the BBC, Hideo Kumano at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute said that conditions were "worsening very quickly". He added: "The Bank of Japan and the government will need to keep working closely [together], but there is still no guarantee that announced steps will be able to stop the economy from collapsing."Both France and Japan are major trading partners with the UK - and many of their firms have offices in Britain.Therefore, continued economic malaise in these nations could lead to job losses or drag us further into our own recession.

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