French economy - Accounts and files2015 Edition
“French economy - Accounts and files” presents every year a summary of the evolutions of French and international economies. Based on national accounts, this book analyses the main events which happened in 2014.
Compared performances of French companies on the domestic and foreign markets
In France, the balance of trade has deteriorated almost continuously since the end of the 1990s. From a surplus in 1999, France began to show a deficit in 2005, which widened until 2011, before an improvement over the next two years. Many studies have focused on losses in export market share. But how does the performance of French companies stand up on the domestic market? An examination of the macroeconomic data shows that the performance of companies in France has declined fairly sharply in exports, but that this decline has been rather smaller on the domestic market. This difference in dynamics may be the result of the positioning of French companies in terms of products, the way in which they are able or not to cover the scope of domestic and foreign demand. It may also be due to the behaviour of French exporting companies which may have preferred the domestic market over foreign markets. To take the microeconomic study further, data from individual companies in the manufacturing sector are analysed. At first sight, a given company's export performance and domestic market performance have a tendency, albeit slight, to move in opposite directions. This may be due to factors such as a deliberate company strategy to target a specific market or the presence of production constraints. However, our analysis shows that a positive demand shock in the domesticmarket in which the company is present, resulting in a rise in domestic sales, then leads to an increase in exports, something which had already been noted in previous studies covering an earlier period. This complementarity seems to be driven by small companies and could reflect the existence of liquidity constraints. Increased sales in one market could lessen these constraints, by facilitating funding for company development in the second market. Strong domestic demand during the pre-crisis period in France is therefore not an explanatory factor of losses in export market share.