Economic Trends/Outlook in France

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Economic Overview

The international financial crisis of 2009 led France into a recession, the French economy shrinking by 2.5%. The country has nonetheless resisted this development better than the eurozone average, thanks to a more diversified economy a more solid banking system, as well as a massive stimulus plan. The GDP improved in 2010, with a growth estimated at 1.6% which should remain on this low level throughout 2011. The recovery was essentially driven by the resumption of international trade.

In the perspective of the next year’s presidential election, the economic policy pursued by the Sarkozy administration is focused on reclaiming the disgruntled electorate. The government’s priority is the restoration of public finances through a policy of budgetary restraint. At the same time, measures to promote return to work, investment and exports will also continue to be pursued.

Due to the crisis, the unemployment rate, which is estimated at 10% in 2010, has reached its highest level in 10 years.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 2,656.41 2,582.53e 2,750.71e 2,834.35e 2,923.27e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -2.5 1.5e 1.6e 1.8e 2.0e
GDP per Capita (USD) 42,410e 41,019e 43,491e 44,609e 45,799e
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -5.0e -5.1e -4.0e -3.3e -2.8e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 78.1e 84.3e 87.6e 89.7e 90.3e
Inflation Rate (%) 0.1 1.7e 2.1e 1.7e 1.8e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 9.5e 9.7e 9.5e 9.1e 8.6e
Current Account (billions USD) -38.84e -51.42e -50.37e -46.03e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.5e -1.9e -1.8e -1.6e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

France is the biggest agricultural power in the European Union, accounting for a quarter of its total agricultural production, and the second agricultural power in the world after the United States. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector only represents a very small part of the country's GDP. It receives significant subsidies, especially from the European Union. Wheat, corn, meat and wine are France's main agricultural products.

France's manufacturing industry is varied, however, the country is in the middle of undergoing a de-industrialization process which translates into numerous relocations. The key industrial sectors in France are telecommunications, electronics, cars, aerospace and weapons.

The tertiary sector represents about three-fourths of the French GDP and employs almost 75% of the active workforce. France is the leading-tourist destination in the world with more than 75 million foreign tourists every year.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 3.0 23.1 72.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.7 18.8 79.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.4 -9.0 -0.9

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in France, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Moderately free
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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