France GDP down by 5.8 pct in Q1 2020, sharpest fall since 1949

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/4/30 20:32:33

A woman looks at the Notre-Dame Cathedral under restoration in Paris, capital of France, April 27, 2020. The renovation of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris resumed on Monday after a suspension since March 17 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the public agency overseeing the project announced. (Photo by Aurelien Morissard/Xinhua)

France's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 5.8 percent in the first quarter this year, the deepest drop on a quarterly basis since the evaluations began in 1949, official data showed on Thursday.

"GDP's negative evolution in Q1 2020 is primarily linked to the shutdown of 'non-essential' activities in the context of the implementation of the lockdown since mid-March," national statistics institute Insee said.

Overall production of goods and services declined sharply by 5.5 percent. The sharpest fall was seen in construction with -12.6 percent. Output in goods and manufactured goods declined by 4.8 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. Output in market services declined by 5.7 percent overall, showed the Insee data.

The stats agency added consumer spending and business investment, the country's main growth engines, declined by 6.1 percent and 11.8 percent respectively in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period.

For the January-March period, sales abroad declined by 6.5 percent while imports dropped by 5.9 percent. As a result, the foreign trade balance contributed negatively to GDP growth by -0.2 points, according to the report.

Insee confirmed -0.1 percent growth in the last quarter of 2019, showing that France entered into recession after two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Due to the costly measures to cushion the pandemic's economic fallout, the French government expected the growth to contract 8 percent, and budget deficit to hit 9 percent of the GDP this year, the highest level since 1945. (1 euro = 1.087 US dollar)


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