International
0

French Economy Suffers Record Slump in Q2

French Economy Suffers Record Slump in Q2French Economy Suffers Record Slump in Q2

The French economy experienced its sharpest contraction on record in the second quarter when strict coronavirus lockdowns choked off manufacturing, tourism and consumer spending across Europe.
Output in the eurozone’s second largest economy declined 13.8%, statistics agency Insee said Friday, with huge declines in consumer spending, trade and investment. While the contraction isn’t as bad as the 15.2% forecast by economists, it’s the worst since the series began more than 70 years ago, Bloomberg reported.
“It’s a severe figure, but less severe than expected,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on CNEWS television. “We need to continue to provide radical and powerful responses to recover as fast as possible.”
The virus fallout has been widespread, with figures due later Friday expected to show the eurozone suffered a 12% slump in the three months through June. The data will likely confirm the uneven hit to the region, with France, Italy and Spain potentially suffering the most. 
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, shrank 10% while Spain contracted nearly twice that amount.
Despite the gloomy picture for the continent, the euro continued to gain versus the dollar, briefly breaking through $1.19. That follows a sharp drop in US GDP, as well as rising concerns about the virus in America, and political uncertainty in the buildup to the presidential election.
The eurozone recovery, which is already underway, will be supported by European Central Bank stimulus as well as an historic deal between countries for a shared recovery fund. But the threat of job cuts across the region, as well as a renewed outbreak of infections, mean a recent rebound in activity may not be sustained.
Already, there’s been an uptick of Covid-19 cases, with neighboring Germany sounding the alarm over rising infection rates. In the UK, the government reimposed lockdown restrictions across a large part of northern England.
Having spent roughly €136 billion on emergency measures, the French government is now preparing a €100 billion stimulus package that will target industrial investment and a transition to a greener economy. 
The aim is to get economic output back to pre-crisis levels by the start of 2022.
The data on Friday showed that France’s construction sector was hit particularly hard by the lockdown, with a 24% drop in output in the second quarter after a 12.8% drop in the first.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com