France: GDP registers flat growth in Q1
May 15, 2014
GDP growth was flat over the previous quarter in Q1 in seasonally-adjusted terms, according to data released by the Statistical Institute (INSEE). The print, which was down from the 0.2% expansion tallied in Q4 2013, fell short of the meager 0.1% increase the market had expected. On an annual basis, GDP expanded 0.8% in Q1, which mirrored the result tallied in Q4 2013. The deterioration in the first quarter was seen across the board. Private consumption contracted 0.5% over the previous quarter (Q4: +0.2% quarter-on-quarter) and reached the lowest level since Q2 2012. The pace of expansion in government spending decelerated from 0.5% in Q4 to 0.4% in Q1. Fixed investment plummeted 0.9% in Q1, which was down from the 0.1% contraction seen in Q4 and marked the sharpest fall since Q2 2009. The external sector's net contribution to overall growth swung from plus 0.3 percentage points in the fourth quarter to minus 0.2 percentage points in the first quarter. Exports of goods and services expanded a meager 0.3% in Q1 (Q4: +1.6% qoq), while imports rose 1.0% (Q4: +0.5% qoq). FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the economy to grow 0.8% in 2014, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2015, panelists anticipate economic growth at 1.3%.