France GDP could fall ‘around 20%’ in second quarter, statistics agency reveals

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France’s economy could contract by around 20% in the second quarter as lockdown measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus slashed activity, the national statistics agency Insee says.

It said the French economy was running “at roughly four-fifths of its pre-crisis level” compared with two-thirds during the lockdown period. Insee also said activity was resuming “prudently” after lockdown measures were eased on 11 May, and that consumer spending was rebounding.

Nevertheless, consumer confidence slid a bit further from the sharp drop registered in April when lockdown measures were in force the entire month, AFP reports.

Insee’s consumer’s confidence index fell by two points to stand at 93 points in May, after dropping by eight points the previous month. The index is calculated so that 100 is the long-term average. “Households are displaying a marked pessimism concerning France’s economic situation,” said Insee.

On the other hand, the business confidence index rose slightly, to 59 points, after having hit a revised 53 points in April, the lowest reading since Insee began to calculate the index in 1980.

“Indicators about future activity have stopped plunging, but the declarations about the outlook remain bleak,” said Insee.