French economy - Accounts and files2013 Edition
“French economy - Accounts and Reports” is published every year and presents a summary of economic developments in France and worldwide. It is based on the national accounts and analyses the main events of 2012.
In 2012, activity in the Eurozone shrank; the French economy was at a standstill
In 2012, global activity slowed after the sovereign debt crisis spread to Europe and a slowdown occurred in the emerging economies. Faced with a rise in inflation, the authorities in the emerging countries tightened up their monetary and fiscal policies in 2011, leading to a significant slowdown in activity in these economies in 2012. From mid-2011 onwards, the European economies suffered from tougher credit conditions, resulting in financial tensions in several countries and intensified fiscal consolidation measures. Activity in the Eurozone contracted in 2012, making a strong contribution to the slowdown in the world economy via trade channels. Conversely, the fiscal stimulus implemented by Japan to accelerate reconstruction in areas destroyed by the earthquake made a rebound in activity possible. In the United States, despite the fall in public expenditure, growth stayed at around 2%, sustained by a very active monetary policy. In this global context, French GDP remained stable, after increasing by 2.0% in 2011 and 1.7% in 2010. The internal growth drivers had stalled, especially household consumption, which was declining because of the drop in purchasing power (-0.9%) caused by the weak momentum of earned income and the introduction of various fiscal consolidation measures. Investment too was in decline. Activity was sustained by exports (+2.4%), but was affected by a clear destocking trend. Confronted with this gloomy outlook, the unemployment rate rose again. The public deficit fell back to 4.8% of GDP, after 5.3% in 2011: the spontaneous widening of the public deficit caused by the deterioration in the short-term outlook was more than offset by fiscal consolidation measures with effect in 2012. The public-debt burden reached 90.2% of GDP.