The French Economy2018 Edition

As it does every year, The French Economy - Accounts and Reports presents a summary of the essential movements having affected the French and global economies of the past year.

To do so, the paper relies on the French National Accounts, based on 2014, published by INSEE [French office of national statistics] at the end of May 2018. More information is available only in French on the French pages of the website.

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Paru le : Paru le 04/10/2018
Benjamin Vignolles - Nicolas Boudrot, Valentin Guilloton, Bruno Patier
L'économie française - Comptes et dossiers - octobre 2018

The recovery in global trade is supporting the growth of advanced and emerging economies - The French economy grew strongly in 2017

Benjamin Vignolles - Nicolas Boudrot, Valentin Guilloton, Bruno Patier

In 2017, global business accelerated a little, growing 3.8% compared with 3.3% in 2016 and 3.1% in 2015. It is perking up in emerging economies: Chinese economic growth is stabilising, after five years gently slowing down, and activity is recovering in the major commodity exporters, Brazil and Russia.

In advanced economies, growth increased by 2.3% compared with 1.7%, returning to its 2015 rate. The acceleration is particularly significant in the United States, where activity is buoyed by a recovery in corporate investment, particularly in the mining sector that has stopped suffering from past falls in crude oil prices. It is also clearly accelerating in Japan, with recovery of commercial trade in Asia. However, it's running out of steam a little in the United Kingdom, against a wait-and-see background following the 'Brexit' referendum. In the Eurozone, the recovery is confirmed (+2.5% compared with +1.8%). However, growth disparities remain within the Eurozone: activity is growing at a steadier pace in Spain and Germany than in France and Italy, although growth has strengthened there too.

Several factors are encouraging European business. First of all, the recovery in world trade is driving exports from the zone. Furthermore, the prices of oil and commodities, which fell sharply from mid-2015, recovered in 2016 and 2017 without returning to their 2014 level, which is limiting their downward pressure on household purchasing power and therefore consumption. Finally, the European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy remains accommodating by keeping interest rates low and by supporting the resumption of business credit, which encourages investment.

In 2017, the French economy grew by 2.2% in volume, compared with 1.2% in 2016. This is the strongest growth since the brief recovery in 2010-2011. However, domestic demand excluding inventory slowed down (contribution of +1.8 points to growth in GDP in 2017 compared to 2.1 points in 2016), held back by household consumption. The slowdown in household consumption (+1.0% compared to +2.1%) derives partly from the slowdown in their purchasing power (+1.3% compared to +1.8%). In terms of public demand, the collective consumption of public authorities fell a little (+0.5% compared to +0.7%), but their investment grew (+1.4% compared to +0.2% in 2016 and –4.6% in 2015).

Compensating for this slowdown in domestic demand, corporate inventory policy contributed positively to business growth in 2017 (+0.2 points compared to –0.4 points in 2016), just like, for the first time since 2012, outside trade (+0.1 point compared to –0.5 point in 2016): exports were indeed particularly strong (+4.5% compared to +1.5%), while imports are also grew, but less strongly (+4.0% compared to +3.0%).

'The French economy grew strongly in 2017' is available in printable version.

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Paru le : 19/12/2018

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