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New lockdown to drag French economy down as much as 6%

Agence France-Presse

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New lockdown to drag French economy down as much as 6%

LOCKDOWN. A closed tea shop in central Saint-Malo, France, on November 16, 2020, as part of measures taken by the government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Damien Meyer/AFP

Statistics agency Insee's forecast for the 4th quarter of 2020 is a 2.5% to 6% contraction in France's gross domestic product

France’s economic output will contract by 2.5% to 6% in the last quarter of 2020 depending on the length of the current partial lockdown, national statistics service Insee said on Tuesday, November 17.

It now forecasts that the French economy will contract by 9% to 10% overall this year.

The government reimposed a lockdown at the end of October as the number of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations surged higher.

The conditions are not as strict as those imposed in March, however, and Insee expects the impact on the economy to be considerably weaker.

If French economic activity plunged by 30% in April from pre-crisis levels, Insee expects the drop in November to be 13%.

But with restaurants closed for on-site dining and travel restricted, it is no surprise the sector could see a 60% drop in activity in November.

The entertainment sector is also expected to see a drop of 40%.

If the lockdown is lifted at the beginning of December as originally planned, Insee expects the quarterly drop in gross domestic product (GDP) will be limited to 2.5%.

If it remains in place for the entire month, the drop could hit 6%.

Insee’s median scenario is for the lockdown to be lifted in mid-December with some restrictions left in place, which would result in a 4.5% drop in GDP. 

That would leave the French economy around 8% lower than its pre-pandemic level, compared with 4% lower in September.

But Prime Minister Jean Castex does not rule out allowing small businesses to reopen at the end of November depending on the health situation, and should make a decision next week, a government spokesman said on Tuesday. –

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