National economic assets in 2009: a second consecutive annual contraction
At end-2009, France's national economic assets were valued at €12 trillion, the equivalent of 7.4 years of net domestic product. They declined for a second consecutive year, but at a more moderate pace, losing 1.8% compared with 3.2% in 2008. After the robust growth of 1997-2007, the 2008 downturn was due to the combined losses in value of non-financial and financial assets. In 2009, the contraction in non-financial assets gained momentum, largely on account of weaker real-estate prices, but net financial assets recovered. French households are the main owners of national wealth. Their assets stabilized in 2009, as the rise in value of their equity holdings offset the decline in real-estate prices. Central-government assets fell sharply, for the most part because of their growing financing requirement. After a steep drop in 2008, the value of corporate shareholders' equity recovered thanks to the stock-market rebound.