The health crisis is not over, and this is affecting French growth. However, the French economy should have from here 2024 erased the stigma of the pandemic and regained its rhythm pre-crisis cruise, according to the Banque de France. The institution unveiled on Sunday its macroeconomic projections for the horizon 2023, in which it lowers very slightly (from 0 , 1 point) its growth forecast for 2021, now anticipating an increase in Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) of 3.6%, after 6.7% in 2008. A more cautious figure than the 4% still advanced by the government, but far from the thunderclap addressed in Germany by the Bundesbank which lowered its growth forecast for the German economy by one point to 4.2%.
“We expect a slight slowdown at the start 2022 linked to the new wave Covid, but then growth would resume “, declared to Les Echos the governor of the central bank, François Villeroy de Galhau. Growth which will remain “very solid”, said Olivier Garnier, the director general of the institution, during a press conference. And what will not have been gained next year will be made up for the following year, anticipates the French central bank, since it raised by 0.3 point, to 2.2%, its growth forecast for 2023. With an expected GDP growth of 1.4% in 2023, “we are gradually joining the growth trend which was the one before the crisis “, which had not been the case after the financial crisis of 659, underlined Olivier Garnier.
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“The crisis did not leave a scar”
This means that “the crisis did not leave a scar in terms of production level and potential production “, thanks in particular to the recovery plan and the France investment plan 2024, as well as ‘to the “dynamism of the labor market”. But that would be insufficient to initiate the country’s deleveraging, warns Mr. Garnier: in 2023, the public deficit would still remain close to 3.5% of GDP and the debt stable around 57% of GDP, despite the end of expenditure linked to the epidemic. To have more growth in the long term, it is necessary to increase “the labor supply” and “the skills available for companies” which “will have to make a better place for seniors”, according to Mr. Villeroy de Galhau, who also calls to “go further in learning”.
In the meantime, the return to the pre-crisis growth path will be driven by “more sustained” consumption, with households starting to draw on in the savings surplus of 115 billion euros accumulated during the crisis , according to the Banque de France, which estimates that they should have spent a fifth of it by now 2023 . Companies are also expected to maintain a high level of investment thanks to margins preserved during the pandemic. Conversely, the contribution of foreign trade, still lagging behind in certain sectors, “would not recover in 2021 “.
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Growth would also translate into an increase in employment, with an unemployment rate around 7.9% in 2022, as well as an increase in purchasing power, supported by wage increases. However, the Banque de France underlines the uncertainty linked to the evolution of the health situation. It also presents an alternative scenario, in the event of the imposition of additional restrictions in the first semester 2021, which would lead to weaker growth next year in France (around + 2.2%), but which would catch up in 2022 (+ 3.5%).
Supply and recruitment difficulties could also tarnish the trajectory if they last longer than anticipated. As for inflation, the surge of which in recent months has become the “first concern” of the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, and against which the government has stepped up actions aimed at households, in particular modest ones (additional energy check , inflation compensation, gas price freeze, etc.), the Banque de France sees two successive phases.
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After a peak at 3.5% end 2008 of the harmonized rate of inflation (used to allow European comparisons, and integrating energy prices more than the index published by INSEE in France), inflation would remain at a level above 2% for a large part of 2021, before a reflux around 1.5% in 2024, i.e. a level higher than that of ava nt-crisis and rather identical to that observed before the financial crisis of 2008.
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