Thursday May 18 2017
French Jobless Rate Falls To 5-Year Low In Q1
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in France dropped to 9.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from 10.0 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest jobless rate since the first quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, the employment rate was stable at 64.7 percent and the activity rate of people aged 15-64 decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 71.4 percent.

The average ILO unemployment rate in metropolitan France and the overseas departments (excluding Mayotte) fell to 9.6 percent from 10.0 percent in the previous period. In metropolitan France only, the unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent in the first three months of the year from 9.7 percent in the previous period, as the number of unemployed decreased by 115,000 to 2.7 million. The unemployment decreased among youths and persons aged 25 to 49 while it was stable for those aged 50 and over. Among unemployed, 1.2 million were seeking a job for at least one year. The long-term unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent compared to 4.2 percent in Q4 2016. 

In the first quarter, the employment rate of the population aged 15-64 years stood at 64.7 percent, the same as in the prior quarter. It rose slightly among youths and for persons aged 25 to 49, and it was stable for those aged 50 to 64. Permanent employment rate came edged down 0.1 percentage points to 48.5 percent, while fixed term and temporary contracts employment rose 0.3 percentage points to 7.8 percent.

About 6.2 percent of the employed persons were underemployed, meaning that they had a part-time job but wished to work more.

The activity rate of people aged at 15-64 fell 0.3 percentage points to 71.4 percent in the first quarter. Among inactive people, 1.5 million wish to work but they are not considered as unemployed (unemployment halo). The number of people in the unemployment halo rose 20,000 quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter 2017 and up by 58,000 over a year.




Tuesday May 16 2017
France Inflation Rate Confirmed At 1.2% In April
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in France rose 1.2 percent year-on-year in April of 2017, following a 1.1 percent gain in March and matching the preliminary figure. Prices went up further for food, energy and services while cost of manufactured products fell less than in the prior month.

Year-on-year, upward price pressure came from: food (0.7 percent from 0.8 percent in March), of which fresh food (3.5 percent) and other food (0.3 percent); tobacco (2.8 percent from 2.8 percent), as a result of a tax increase; energy (9.3 percent from 9.9 percent), of which petroleum products (15 percent); and services (1.0 percent from 1.1 percent), of which actual rentals and services for dwellings (0.6 percent), health (0.3 percent), transport (4.5 percent) and other services (1.2 percent). In contrast, downward price pressure was recorded for manufactured goods (-0.7 percent from -1 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, rose to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent in March.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent, after increasing 0.6 percent in the prior month and reaching the third straight month of rise. Prices increased for: tobacco (0.1 percent), manufactured products (0.1 percent) and services. In contrast, prices fell for: food (-0.1 percent) and energy (-0.3 percent).

The harmonised index of consumer prices rose 1.4 percent from the previous year and by 0.1 percent month-over-month.




Wednesday May 10 2017
French Trade Deficit Narrows In March As Exports Jump
Ministère de l'Économie et des Financesl Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

French trade deficit narrowed to EUR 5.4 billion in March 2017 from a downwardly revised EUR 6.4 billion in February and below market expectations of a EUR 6.0 billion gap. Exports rose 3.8 percent month-on-month to EUR 39.3 billion while imports increased at a slower 0.8 percent to EUR 44.6 billion.

In March, sales went up for: aerospace industry products (3.1 percent), pharmaceuticals (4.1 percent), metallurgical and metal products (1.8 percent), electrical and household equipments (1.8 percent), ships, train, bikes (7.6 percent), perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (5.5 percent), chemicals (2.8 percent), rubber products, plastics, various minerals (2.3 percent), natural hydrocarbons (6.7 percent), jewelry, toys, furniture (2.7 percent), textiles, leather (0.3 percent), industrial & agriculture machinery (3.9 percent), agriculture (2.5 percent), automotive products (6.7 percent).In contrast, outbound shipments fell for: refined oil (-1.5 percent) and wood, paper and cardboard (-0.2 percent).
 
Exports increased to Asia (10.8 percent), America (10.5 percent), EU countries (3.3 percent), and Africa (11.8 percent). In contrast, sales declined to the Middle East countries (-10.4 percent) and  European countries outside EU (-5.0 percent) .
 
Imports increased for: aerospace industry (8.9 percent), pharmaceuticals (4.3 percent), natural hydrocarbons (4.0 percent); jewelry, toys, furniture (8.4 percent), metallurgical and metal products (4 percent), electrical and household equipments (2.9 percent); ships, trains, bikes (14.2 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (3.1 percent), textiles, leather (5.5 percent) and automotive products (2.8 percent), chemicals (2.6 percent); wood, paper, cardboard (1.0 percent), industrial & agricultural machinery (1.2 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments decreased for: works of arts, technical documentation, publishing products (-20.9 percent), refined oil (-24.4 percent), and perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (-1.7 percent).
 
 
 




Sunday May 07 2017
Can France's Economic Problems Be Solved
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Since 2014 French economic growth has lagged that of the Euro Area due to weak household consumption and investments. The activity began to pick up at the end of last year but the pace of recovery will be determined by the political situation as Macron's ability to implement necessary reforms will depend on the outcome of legislative elections in June.

Emmanuel Macron has promised to bring France's deficit below the EU's limit of 3 percent of GDP and to cut 50 thousand of public sector jobs, while he said he would increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP and add 10 thousand police officers in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016. Regarding the labour market, Macron intends to introduce flexibility on overtime instead of maintaining the 35-hour week and to leave the retirement age and pensions untouched. Also, he is open to free trade and has campaigned for EU cooperation on fiscal and social regulation.

Despite a slower-than-expected 0.3 percent expansion in the first quarter of 2017, surveys of businesses suggest that the private sector is expanding at a healthy pace, with April's Composite PMI hitting a near six-year high of 57.4. Output in both services and manufacturing sectors rose sharply, as new business increased for the tenth straight month and the pace of job creation hit a 68-month peak. Also, April's industrial confidence was the strongest since June 2011, as manufacturers' opinion on their past activity rebounded to its highest level since December 2016, and production expectations continued to increase.

Also, household opinion surveys point to a good level of confidence in the economy despite political uncertainty. Consumer confidence stood at a 9-½-year high for the fourth consecutive month in April as concerns over unemployment eased to the lowest since June 2008 and the assessment toward current saving capacity rose slightly while households' saving intention for the coming year remained stable. Household consumption has been the main driver of growth of the French economy and it has been expanding steadily since 2014. During the first quarter of 2017, retail trade rose by 3.1 percent over the same three-month period in 2016, boosted by higher sales of both food and non-food products.

Still, the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high for years and in the fourth quarter of 2016 it edged down by only 1 p.p. to 10 percent. Payroll employment in the non-farm market sectors increased further by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous period to reach an eight-year high of 16.17 million. Still, the level of employment has failed to return to pre-crisis levels and the number of French jobseekers has been growing recently, hitting a seven-month high of 3.51 million in March.

France has the highest public spending ratio among EU countries (56.2 percent of GDP in 2016 from 56.7 percent in 2015), with expenditure on social protection accounting for nearly 25 percent of GDP and health for 8 percent. Also, France’s debt burden has been steady rising and reached a record high of 96 percent of GDP in 2016. On the positive note, the fiscal deficit has shrunk to 3.4 percent in 2016 from 2009's record high of 7.2 percent but largely as a result of lower interest rates, cuts in public investment and higher tax revenues. 


Friday April 28 2017
France Inflation Rate Rises At Slightly Faster Pace In April
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in France are set to rise 1.2 percent year-on-year in April of 2017, slightly higher than a 1.1 percent gain in March, preliminary estimates showed. While prices went up further for food, energy and services, cost of manufactured products continued to fall.

Year-on-year,  prices increased for: food (0.7 percent from 0.8 percent in the prior month, namely fresh food: 3.4 percent and other food: 0.3 percent), energy (9.3 percent from 9.9 percent) and services (1.0 percent from 1.1). In contrast, prices fell for manufactured products (-0.7 percent from -0.1).

On a monthly basis,  consumer prices  are expected to increase 0.1 percent, after a 0.6 percent rise in the previous month. 

The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) rose 0.1 percent on the month, following a 0.7 percent increase in a month earlier . Year-on-year, it rose 1.4 percent, the same as in the previous two months.


Friday April 28 2017
France GDP growth Below Estimates In Q1
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

France GDP expanded 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the March quarter of 2016, compared to an upwardly revised 0.5 percent growth in the three months to December and less than market estimates of a 0.4 percent expansion, first estimates showed. The slowdown was mainly due to sluggish private consumption and a slump in net external demand while government spending and investment went up.

In the first quarter, household consumption rose 0.1 percent, slowing sharply from a 0.6 percent rise in the previous quarter. Government expenditure gained 0.4 percent, compared to a 0.3 percent increase in the preceding quarter. Total gross fixed capital formation grew by 0.9 percent, faster than a 0.6 percent growth in the December quarter. Final domestic demand (excluding changes in inventories) contributed 0.4 points to GDP growth, down from 0.5 points in the prior quarter; and changes in inventories contributed 0.6 points (after -0.2 points in the prior three months).

Exports shrank by 0.7 percent, following a 1.4 percent rise in the fourth quarter, while imports went up 1.5 percent, faster than a 0.8 percent increase in the preceding quarter. The foreign trade balance contributed negatively to the economy (-0.7 points after 0.2 points in the December quarter).

Year-on-year, the GDP grew by 0.8 percent, slower than an upwardly revised 1.2 percent expansion in the last quarter 2016. 




Thursday April 13 2017
France Inflation Rate Confirmed At 1.1% In March
Insee l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in France rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, following a 1.2 percent increase in February and matching the preliminary figure. It was the lowest inflation rate since December 2016, as prices for food and energy went up at a slower pace while cost of manufactured products fell.

Year-on-year, upward price pressure came from: Food (0.8 percent from 1.6 percent in February), of which fresh food (4.6 percent) and other food (0.2 percent); tobacco (2.8 percent from 1 percent), as a result of a tax increase; energy (9.9 percent from 11.4 percent), of which petroleum products (17 percent); and services (inflation steady at 1.1 percent), of which actual rentals and services for dwellings (0.5 percent), health (0.4 percent), transport (1.4 percent) and other services (1.5 percent). In contrast, downward price pressure was recorded mainly for manufactured goods (-1 percent from -1.6 percent in February).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, rose to 0.4 percent from 0.2 percent in February.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent, after increasing by 0.1 percent in the prior month. The acceleration resulted from a rebound in the prices of manufactured products (2.5 percent) after the end of winter sales and from a further rise in tobacco prices (1.8 percent). By contrast, food prices slipped back (-0.3 percent) due to fresh products (-2.4 percent), and energy prices fell too (-0.5 percent), amid a drop in petroleum product prices (-1.6 percent).

The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 1.4 percent from the previous year and by 0.7 percent month-over-month.
 
 


Friday April 07 2017
France Trade Gap Narrows In February
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

France recorded a trade gap of EUR 6.57 billion in February of 2017, compared to an upwardly revised EUR 8.1 billion deficit in January while markets expected a EUR 4.90 billion shortfall, as exports rose 1.6 percent month-on-month to EUR 37.80 billion while imports fell 2.0 percent to EUR 44.36 billion.

In February, sales went up for: aerospace industry products (20.8 percent), pharmaceuticals (2.5 percent), metallurgical and metal products (1.3 percent), electrical and household equipments (2.9 percent); ships, train, bikes (18.2 percent); perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (4.4 percent), chemicals (1.8 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (0.6 percent) and wood, paper and cardboard (2.1 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments fell for: natural hydrocarbons (-0.7 percent), jewelry, toys, furniture (-2.3 percent); textiles, leather (-0.7 percent), industrial & agriculture machinery (-0.5 percent), agriculture (-1.3 percent), automotive products (-4.4 percent) and refined oil (-4.8 percent).

Exports increased to Asia (15.2 percent) and the Middle-East countries (15.8 percent). In contrast, sales declined to the EU countries (-1.5 percent), the European countries outside EU (-0.9 percent), America (-1.1 percent) and Africa (-1.3 percent).

Imports decreased for: aerospace industry (-11.7 percent), pharmaceuticals (-26.4 percent), natural hydrocarbons (-7.0 percent); jewelry, toys, furniture (-9.0 percent), metallurgical and metal products (-3.9 percent),  electrical and household equipments (-4.8 percent); ships, trains, bikes (-9.7 percent); perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (-1.5 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (-0.8 percent), textiles, leather (-1.2 percent) and automotive products (-1.6 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments rose for: chemicals (0.7 percent); wood, paper, cardboard (1.6 percent), industrial & agricultural machinery (0.4 percent); works of arts, technical documentation, publishing products (21.2 percent) and refined oil (39.3 percent).


Friday March 31 2017
France Inflation Rate Slows To 1.1% In March
INSEE l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in France are set to rise 1.1 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, compared to a 1.2 percent gain in February, preliminary estimates showed. While prices went up at a slower pace for food, energy and services, cost of manufactured products continued to fall.

Year-on-year,  prices increased less than in a month earlier for: food (0.8 percent, namely fresh food: 4.5 percent and other food: 0.2 percent), tobacco (2.8 percent), energy (9.9 percent) and services (1.0 percent). In contrast, prices fell for manufactured products (-1.0 percent).

On a monthly basis,  consumer prices  are expected to increase 0.6 percent, after a 0.1 percent rise in the previous month. It was the highest figure since March 2016. 

The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) rose 0.7 percent on the month, following a 0.1 percent increase in a month earlier . Year-on-year, it rose 1.4 percent, the same as in a month earlier.


Friday March 24 2017
France GDP Growth Matches Estimates In Q4
Insee | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

France GDP advanced 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in the December quarter of 2016, compared to a 0.2 percent growth in the three months to September and in line with second estimates, final figures showed. It was the second straight quarter of growth and the strongest since the March quarter, driven by faster rises in household consumption and investment while net external demand contributed slightly to the GDP.

In the three months to December 2016, household consumption rose 0.6 percent, following a 0.1 percent rise in the previous two quarters. Government expenditure went up 0.3 percent, the same as in the preceding quarter. Total gross fixed capital formation grew by 0.5 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent growth in the third quarter. Final domestic demand (excluding changes in inventories) contributed 0.5 points to GDP growth, up significantly from 0.2 points in the prior quarter.

Exports rose 1.3 percent, faster than a 0.8 percent rise in the September quarter. Imports went up 0.9 percent, slowing sharply from a 2.7 percent increase in the preceding quarter. The foreign trade balance contributed positively to the economy (0.1 points after -0.6 points in the third quarter). In contrast, changes in inventories contributed negatively: -0.2 points after +0.7 points in the September quarter.

Year-on-year, the GDP grew 1.1 percent, compared to a 0.9 percent expansion in the third quarter and matching preliminary estimates.