Thursday May 16 2019
French Q1 Jobless Rate Falls to a Decade Low of 8.7%
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in France inched lower to 8.7 percent in the March quarter of 2019 from 8.8 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest jobless rate since the first quarter of 2009.

In metropolitan France only, the unemployment rate declined by 0.1 points over the quarter to 8.4 percent in the three months to March, as the number of unemployed decreased by 19,000 to 2.4 million. The unemployment rate increased 2.1 points among young men, but fell 1.4 points among young women.For persons aged 25 to 49, the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 points, while it rose for those aged 50 and over. Among the unemployed, 963 thousand were seeking a job for at least one year. The long-term unemployment rate stood at 3.3 percent in the first quarter, virtually stable from the prior quarter, while declined by 0.3 points over a year.

The employment rate of the population aged 15-64 years was stable in the March quarter, remaining at its highest since early 1980s, and 0.3 points above its early 2018 level. Over the quarter, the employment rate among persons aged 25 to 49 was up by 0.2 points and that among persons aged 50 to 64 remained virtually stable. At the opposite, the employment rate among youth decreased sharply by 0.4 points. Full-time employment rate stood at 54.5 percent in the first quarter. It was virtually stable (up 0.1 points) over a quarter and advanced by 0.6 points over a year, reaching its highest level since 2003 (beginning of the quarterly series). Part-time employment rate was unchanged at 11.7 percent.

About 5.3 percent of the employed were underemployed, meaning that they had a part-time job but wished to work more. This share decreased by 0.4 points compared to the December quarter and 0.8 points over a year. 

The activity rate of people aged 15-64 was stable at 72.3 percent. Quarter-on-quarter, it decreased 0.3 points among youths, was stable for middle-age people and increased 0.3 points among persons aged 50 to 64, in particular among men (up 0.8 points). It was stable among persons aged 55 to 64 (up 0.1 points) over a quarter and sharply increased year-on-year (up 0.7 points).




Wednesday May 15 2019
French Inflation Rate Quickens to 1.3% in April
INSEE | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

France's annual inflation rate increased to 1.3 percent in April 2019 from 1.1 percent in March and slightly above an initial estimate of 1.2 percent. Prices rose faster for services and they fell slightly less for manufactured products.

Prices advanced at a faster pace for services (1.0 percent vs 0.6 percent in March), as cost rebounded for transport services (0.5 percent vs -0.9 percent), especially those of air transport (3.3 percent vs -3.3 percent); and health (0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent). In addition, prices rose further for other services (1.8 percent vs 1.4 percent) and decreased at a softer pace for communication (-3.0 percent vs -3.3 percent) and actual rentals and services for dwellings (-0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent). Meantime, inflation was steady for tobacco (at 8.1 percent) and food (at 2.5 percent), amid a slowdown in fresh food prices (3.7 percent vs 4.2 percent), namely fresh fuit (0.5 percent vs 1.3 percent); fresh vegetables (3.3 percent vs 3.6 percent) and fish expenses (4.5 percent vs 6.0 percent).

On the other hand, energy inflation slowed down (4.8 percent vs 5.1 percent), driven by petroleum cost (5.7 percent vs 6.0 percent). Manufactured products prices posted a smaller decrease (-0.5 percent vs -0.6 percent), of which clothing & footwear (-0.2 percent vs -0.3 percent) and medical products (-2.5 percent vs -2.7 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, rose to 0.7 percent in April from 0.5 percent in March.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.3 percent in April, slightly above an earlier figure of 0.2 percent and compared to a 0.8 percent rise in March. Softer prices were observed for manufactured products (0.1 percent vs 2.1 percent); energy (0.6 percent vs 1.1 percent) and tobacco (0.1 percent vs 7.3 percent). In contrast, cost for services accelerated (0.5 percent vs 0.2 percent) and food prices rebounded very slightly (0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent).

The harmonized index of consumer prices increased by 1.5 percent from the previous year (vs 1.3 percent in March) and by 0.4 percent month-over-month (vs 0.9 percent in March).




Tuesday May 07 2019
France Trade Gap Widens More than Expected in March
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The French trade deficit widened to EUR 5.3 billion in March 2019 from an upwardly revised EUR 4.1 billion in the previous month and compared to market expectations of a EUR 4.5 billion gap. Exports rose 1.1 percent month-over-month and imports went up at a faster 3.6 percent.

Exports increased 1.1 percent from a month earlier to EUR 43.2 billion in March, mainly driven by higher sales of other industrial products (2.0 percent), agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (4.9 percent), natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity (5.1 percent), transport equipment (1.8 percent) and publishing and communication (51.3 percent). On the other hand, sales fell for agribusiness products (-0.5 percent), mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (-3.0 percent) and coke and refined petroleum products (-2.8 percent).

Among major trading partners, exports went up to the EU (2.0 percent), Africa (4.2 percent), Middle East (67 percent) and America (2.6 percent) but declined to 
Asia (-3.0 percent).

Imports advanced at a faster 3.6 percent to EUR 48.5 billion in March, boosted by purchases of natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity (41.2 percent), 
mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (2.2 percent), transport equipment (3.7 percent), and coke and refined petroleum products (5.0 percent). Meanwhile, imports dropped for agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (-7.9 percent), agribusiness products (-0.3 percent), and other industrial products (-0.1 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports rose from the EU (2.0 percent), Asia (0.2 percent), America (7.0 percent), Middle East (5.1 percent) and Africa (11.4 percent).

Considering the first quarter of the year, the country posted a EUR 13.7 billion gap compared to a EUR 14.7 billion shortfall in the same period of 2018.




Tuesday April 30 2019
French Inflation Rate Rises to 1.2% in April
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The inflation rate in France is expected to accelerate to 1.2 percent year-on-year in April 2019 from a 17-month low of 1.1 percent in the previous month, a preliminary estimate showed, mainly driven by a further increase in services prices.

Services prices are expected to rise at a faster pace (0.8 percent vs 0.6 percent in March); while inflation is set to remain unchanged for tobacco (at 8.1 percent) and food (at 2.5 percent), of which fresh food (3.6 percent vs 4.2 percent) and other food products (2.3 percent vs 2.2 percent). Meanwhile, energy prices should increase 4.8 percent, slower than 5.1 percent in March, while manufactured products costs are seen falling again (-0.5 percent vs -0.6 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices are set to advance 0.2 percent in April, easing from a 0.8 percent jump in March.

The harmonised index of consumer prices is expected to rise by 1.4 percent from the previous year (vs 1.3 percent in March) and by 0.3 percent month-over-month (vs 0.9 percent in March).


Tuesday April 30 2019
French Q1 GDP Growth Holds Steady at 0.3%
INSEE | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The French economy advanced 0.3 percent on quarter in the three months to March 2019, the same pace as in the previous period and matching market expectations, a first estimate showed. Household consumption and fixed investment were the main drivers of growth while net foreign demand contributed negatively.

In the first quarter, both internal demand excluding inventory changes and changes in inventories contributed 0.3 points to the GDP growth, respectively; while net foreign trade contributed negatively (-0.3 points).

Within domestic demand, household consumption picked up (0.4 percent vs flat reading in Q4). Consumption of goods rebounded (0.2 percent vs -0.6 percent), mainly due to a rise in car purchase. Expenditures on energy rose (0.9 percent vs -0.3 percent) boosted by spending on fuel. Conversely, expenditures on food decreased sharply (-1.0 percent vs -0.2 percent). Meantime, consumption of services continued to rise (0.5 percent vs 0.6 percent), driven by spending on accomodation and food services. In addition, fixed investment went up 0.3 percent, following a 0.4 percent growth in the prior quarter as corporate investment growth accelerated slightly (0.5 percent vs 0.4 percent), as an increase in car purchases by businesses was almost offset by a decline in information, communication and business services. On the other hand, household investment kept falling, partly due to new housing (-0.3 percent vs -0.2 percent). Meanwhile, government expenditure advanced 0.1 percent, after a 0.4 percent rise in the previous period. 

Exports edged up 0.1 percent (vs 2.2 percent in Q4), while imports grew at a faster 0.9 percent (vs 1.2 percent in Q4).

Year-on-year, the economy expanded 1.1 percent in the first quarter, after a 1 percent expansion in the previous three-month period.




Thursday April 11 2019
French March Inflation Rate Confirmed at 17-Month Low
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

France's annual inflation rate was confirmed at 1.1 percent in March 2019, the lowest since October 2017 and below February's 1.3 percent.

Prices rose at a softer pace for: services (0.6 percent vs 0.9 percent in February), led by slowing cost growth of other services (1.4 percent vs 1.7 percent) and declines in prices of communication (-3.3 percent vs -3.1 percent), transport (-0.9 percent vs -0.5 percent) and health services (-0.2 percent vs 0.1 percent); food (2.5 percent vs 3.1 percent) due to fresh food (4.2 percent vs 8.3 percent); and tobacco (8.1 percent vs 14 percent). In addition, manufactured products continued to fall (-0.6 percent vs -0.5 percent) on the back of lower costs of medical products (-2.7 percent vs -3 percent), clothing and footwear (-0.3 percent vs 0.8 percent) and other manufactured products (-0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent).

Energy inflation, however, accelerated to 5.1 percent from 3.2 percent in the previous month, boosted by petroleum cost (6 percent vs 3.2 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, eased to 0.5 percent in March from 0.7 percent in February.  

On a monthly basis, consumer prices surged 0.8 percent in March after being unchanged in February. The rebound in manufactured product prices (2.1 percent vs -0.4 percent) and the increase in those of services (0.2 percent vs unchanged) and tobacco (7.3 percent vs unchanged) were slightly attenuated by a slowdown in energy prices (1.1 percent vs 1.3 percent) and a downturn in food prices (-0.2 percent vs 0.2 percent).

The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 1.3 percent from the previous year (vs 1.6 percent in February) and by 0.9 percent month-over-month (vs 0.1 percent in February).


Friday April 05 2019
French Trade Gap Narrows in February
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The French trade deficit narrowed to EUR 4.0 billion in February 2019 from EUR 4.2 billion in the previous month, compared to market expectations of a EUR 4.7 billion gap.

Exports surged 0.9 percent from a month earlier to EUR 42.9 billion in February, as sales increased mostly for coke and refined petroleum products (25.3 percent), natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity (12.2 percent), agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (1.2 percent), agribusiness products (0.5 percent), and transport equipment (0.4 percent). Meanwhile, exports of works of art, antiques and collectibles slumped 29.3 percent.

Among major trading partners, exports rose to the EU (0.5 percent), Africa (4.6 percent) and Asia (2.9 percent), but fell to the Middle East (-40.8 percent) and America (-4.1 percent).

Imports increased at a softer 0.4 percent to EUR 47.6 billion in February, driven by purchases of mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (2 percent), coke and refined petroleum products (1.6 percent), other industrial products (1.5 percent), transport equipment (1.3 percent), agribusiness products (1.1 percent), and agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (0.4 percent). By contrast, there was a steep decline in natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity imports (-14 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports rose mainly from the EU (1.6 percent), Asia (2 percent) and America (0.2 percent), but fell from the Middle East (-5.9 percent) and Africa (-1.4 percent).


Friday March 29 2019
French Inflation Rate Falls to 17-Month Low
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The inflation rate in France is expected to fall to 1.1 percent year-on-year in March 2019 from 1.3 percent in the previous month, a preliminary estimate should. That should be the lowest rate since October 2017, as prices of services, food and tobacco are set to rise at a softer pace.

Prices are expected to rise at a softer pace for: services (0.6 percent vs 0.9 percent in February); food (2.5 percent vs 3.1 percent), of which fresh food (4.1 percent vs 8.3 percent) and other food products (2.2 percent vs 2.1 percent); and tobacco (8.1 percent vs 14 percent). In addition, manufactured products prices should drop 0.5 percent, the same pace as in February. By contrast, energy inflation is likely to accelerate to 5.1 percent from 3.2 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices are set to climb 0.8 percent in March after being unchanged in February. Manufactured product prices should rebound after the end of winter sales in February. Those of services and tobacco should rise after a stability in the previous month. Contrariwise, energy prices should slow down and food prices should fell back due to an accentuated decrease in fresh product prices.

The harmonised index of consumer prices is expected to rise by 1.3 percent from the previous year (vs 1.6 percent in February) and by 0.9 percent month-over-month (vs 0.1 percent in February).


Tuesday March 26 2019
French GDP Growth Confirmed at 0.3% in Q4
INSEE | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The French economy advanced 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, the same pace as in the previous period, final estimate showed. Exports helped offset a weak household consumption while government expenditure advanced at a faster pace.

Within domestic demand, fixed investment went up 0.3 percent, easing from a 1.0 percent expansion in the prior quarter (vs 1 percent in Q3) as corporate investment growth slowed (0.3 percent vs 1.7 percent). Additionally, household investment dropped further (-0.3 percent vs -0.1 percent. In contrast, government investment advanced 1.0 percent, after a flat reading in the previous period. Household consumption stalled in the fourth quarter of the year, following a 0.4 percent growth in the prior three-month period. Meanwhile, general government expenditure increased 0.4 percent, higher than a 0.2 percent in Q3.

Exports increased 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter (vs 0.6 percent in Q3) and imports rebounded (1.2 percent vs -0.2 percent in Q3).

Year-on-year, the economy expanded 1.0 percent in the last quarter of 2018, easing from an upwardly revised 1.4 percent growth in the third quarter of the year. It was the weakest growth rate since the third quarter of 2016. 

Considering 2018 as a whole, the economy grew 1.6 percent, revised from a preliminary 1.5 percent expansion and compared to a 2.3 percent growth in the 2017. A slowdown was recorded in household consumption (0.8 percent vs 1.1 percent in 2017), fixed investment (2.9 percent vs 4.7 percent), government spending (1.1 percent vs 1.4 percent), exports (3.3 percent vs 4.7 percent) and imports (1.3 percent vs 4.1 percent). On the other hand, inventory changes contributed negatively to the GDP growth (-0.4 percentage points).


Thursday March 14 2019
French February Inflation Rate Confirmed at 1.3%
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

France's annual inflation rate was confirmed at 1.3 percent in February 2019, slightly above an 11-month low of 1.2 percent in the previous month.

Energy prices rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier in February, faster than 1.9 percent in the previous month, with petroleum products prices increasing by 3.2 percent (vs 0.2 percent in January). Also, food prices went up 3.1 percent, compared to a 2.7 percent advance in January, of which fresh food (8.3 percent vs 8.4 percent) and other food (2.1 percent vs 1.7 percent). Meanwhile, inflation was unchanged for tobacco (at 14 percent) and slowed for services (0.9 percent vs 1 percent), as cost increased at a softer rate for both health services (0.1 percent vs 0.2 percent) and other services (1.7 percent vs 1.9 percent). Also within services, declines were seen in prices for communication (-3.1 percent, the same as in January), transport (-0.5 percent vs -0.1 percent) and actual rentals and services for dwellings (-0.2 percent vs -0.4 percent). In addition, manufactured products costs continued to drop (-0.8 percent vs -0.4 percent), with decreases recorded for medical products (-4.9 percent vs -2.8 percent) and other manufactured products (-0.2 percent vs -0.1 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures stood at 0.7 percent in February, the same as in January.  

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were unchanged in February after falling 0.4 percent in January. The rebound in energy prices (1.3 percent vs -1.2 percent) was offset by a decline in fresh food prices (-1.3 percent vs 2.4 percent) and the lesser drop in manufactured product prices (-0.4 percent vs -2.1 percent). At last, the prices of services were stable in February.

The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 1.6 percent from the previous year (vs 1.4 percent in January) and by 0.1 percent month-over-month (vs -0.6 percent in January).