The French economy is growing at a slower rate, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanding by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with 0.3 percent in the preceding three-month period. But overall, the economy grew by 1.7 percent last year, the National Statistics Institute (INSEE) said Wednesday. INSEE said that household spending, the backbone of French domestic growth, had risen less slowly at the end of the year, but capital investment had firmed considerably by 0.9 percent at the end of 2011. French industrialists said optimistically earlier this week that they expected investment to be boosted by around 7.0 percent in 2012. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has revised downwards his government's growth forecasts for this year and is estimating 0.5 percent GDP compared with the already-revised downward 1.75 percent being predicted last year.