“The 1.3% q/q fall in Q4 GDP shows that the French economy withstood the autumn’s lockdown much better than anticipated, due to the success of more targeted measures,” Jessica Hinds, Europe Economist at Capital Economics noted.
“But the high case numbers and strain on hospitals mean tougher measures are likely to be imposed soon, the economy has started 2021 on the back foot.”
“The decline in GDP was much less than the 4% drop that both we and the consensus had expected. Notably, it was significantly smaller than Q2 2020’s 13.7% plunge, reflecting both the fact that the autumn’s measures had a narrower focus and also that households and firms have been better able to adapt to the restrictions.”
“Indeed, the breakdown showed that output in both industry and the construction sectors rose in Q4. Even private services output fell by “just” 2.2% q/q, Meanwhile, the breakdown of GDP by expenditure showed that the decline was driven primarily by consumer spending, which was unsurprising given the nature of the restrictions.”
“Investment actually continued to recover, increasing by 2.4% q/q in Q4, with France’s statistics office citing a “remarkably high number of property transactions”. Foreign trade also made a positive contribution to GDP growth in Q4. “