France: GDP growth moderates in Q4; economy records significant acceleration overall in 2015
January 29, 2016
According to preliminary data released by the statistical office (INSEE), the French economy grew a modest 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2015over the previous quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms, which came in slightly below the 0.3% growth seen in Q3. The reading matched market expectations. Year-on-year, GDP accelerated slightly from a 1.1% rise in Q3 to a 1.3% expansion in Q4, which marked the fastest growth in four years. Overall, GDP rose 1.1% in 2015, which was a significant acceleration compared to the mild 0.2% expansion tallied in 2014.
The fourth quarter’s moderation was mainly the result of softer domestic demand, which more than offset a less negative contribution of the external sector. Private consumption in Q4 contracted 0.3% over the previous quarter, which contrasted the 0.4% growth recorded in Q3. Government spending remained stable in Q4 at Q3’s 0.4%. Meanwhile, gross fixed investment grew 0.8% in Q4 (Q3: 0.1% quarter-on-quarter).
The external sector recorded a less negative contribution as exports of goods and services rebounded and grew 0.6% in Q4 over the previous quarter (Q3: -0.6% qoq), while imports kept growing at a steady pace, expanding 1.6% (Q3: +1.5% qoq). As a result, the external sector’s net contribution to overall economic growth improved from minus 0.6 percentage points in Q3 to minus 0.3 percentage points in Q4.
Author: Eric Denis , Economist