French architecture in France

France GDP Q4 2019

France: Second release confirms GDP contraction in Q4 2019

The economy contracted a seasonally-adjusted 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of last year (Q3: +0.3% quarter-on-quarter, seasonally-adjusted), according to a second estimate released by the French Statistical Institute (INSEE) on 28 February. In year-on-year terms, the economy expanded 0.9% in Q4, down from 1.5% in Q3; meanwhile, taking 2019 as a whole, GDP growth decelerated to 1.3%, down from 2018’s 1.7% expansion.

The downturn chiefly reflected a third consecutive quarterly fall in inventories (Q4: -0.5% qoq s.a.; Q3: -0.1% qoq s.a.), amid expectations of subdued demand ahead. Meanwhile, household spending growth edged down to 0.3% from 0.4% in Q3, as country-wide strikes against President Macron’s pension reform hindered consumption in December. Furthermore, fixed investment growth slumped to 0.2% (Q3: +1.3% qoq s.a.), the slowest expansion since Q1 2018, amid muted household and government investment. On the upside, government consumption sustained its momentum in Q4 (Q4: +0.5% qoq s.a., Q3: +0.5% qoq s.a.).

On the external front, exports saw no growth in Q4 (Q3: -0.3% qoq s.a.), while imports swung to contraction from a healthy expansion a quarter prior (Q4: -0.4% qoq s.a.; Q3: +0.4% qoq s.a.). Taken together, the external sector contributed 0.1 percentage points to overall growth, after having subtracted 0.2 percentage points in Q3.

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