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France recorded its strongest growth in more than 50 years as the economy recovered from the economic shock of the pandemic.
French GDP rose 7% last year, according to just-released data – the strongest annual expansion since 1969 as the economy showed resilience in the face of supply chain disruption.
It follows an 8% contraction in 2020 as lockdowns and restrictions to combat Covid-19 pushed the economy into a deep recession.
The strongest boom in a generation is a boost to Emmanuel Macron’s economic credentials, ahead of April’s presidential election in which he is expected to run for a second term.
The French economy grew by 0.7% in the last quarter, faster than expected, but slower than the 3.1% growth in July-September as the latest wave of infections hit Europe the last fall.
Consumers contributed to the recovery, with household spending rising 0.4% in the quarter following the easing of restrictions earlier in 2021.
Business investment, or gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), increased by 0.5%, mainly driven by spending on IT services
Statistical body INSEE said the French economy has now grown “significantly” beyond its pre-crisis levels, having recovered to its pre-pandemic gross domestic product level in the third trimester.
After returning to its pre-crisis level in the previous quarter (+0.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019), GDP largely exceeded it in the fourth quarter (+0.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019) .
Growth data from Spain and Germany is also due this morning, showing how some of Europe’s biggest countries fared in the fourth quarter.
We already know that the United States finished last year strong. Yesterday’s data showed that the US economy grew 1.7% in the last quarter (or 6.9% annualized).
US GDP grew 5.7% in 2021 – the best annual growth since 1984, supported by government and central bank stimulus measures and vaccine deployments.
- 06:30 GMT: Fourth quarter French GDP report
- 07:00 GMT: Swedish Q4 GDP report
- 8am GMT: Spain’s fourth quarter GDP report
- 09:00 GMT: Germany’s fourth quarter GDP report
- 10am GMT: Eurozone economic and consumer sentiment report
- 13:30 GMT: US PCE index of personal consumption price inflation
- 3pm GMT: University of Michigan US Consumer Confidence Index