France: GDP growth flatlines in Q1
According to a preliminary estimate, economic growth flatlined on a seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in the first quarter, moderating from the 0.8% expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year. Q1’s reading marked the slowest result since Q4 2020. Meanwhile, on an annual basis, economic growth moderated to 5.3% in Q1, from the previous quarter’s 5.5% expansion.
The quarterly moderation was broad-based, with private consumption, public spending, fixed investment and exports all weakening. Private consumption contracted 1.2% in Q1, marking the worst result since Q4 2020 (Q4 2021: +0.6% s.a. qoq). Government spending flatlined (Q4 2021: +0.4% s.a. qoq). Meanwhile, fixed investment growth edged down to 0.2% in Q1, from 0.3% in the previous quarter.
On the external front, exports of goods and services growth waned to 1.5% in Q1 (Q4 2021: +3.5% s.a. qoq). In addition, imports of goods and services growth slowed to 1.1% in Q1 (Q4 2021: +3.2% s.a. qoq).
Commenting on the outlook, Charlotte de Montpellier, economist at ING, commented:
“For the coming quarters, the growth outlook is not very bright. The sharp rise in inflation, which is now spreading more and more widely throughout the economy, is weighing on household incomes. […] We expect a weak growth situation for the next few quarters, with a second quarter probably close to 0.0% quarter-on-quarter and the second part of the year showing quarterly growth rates of around 0.4%. Ultimately, the French economy is expected to grow by 2.7% for the year as a whole, a weak figure if we consider the carry-over effect of the strong end of 2021 (2.4%).”