Thursday February 15 2018
French Q4 Jobless Rate Falls to Near 9-Year Low
Insee l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in France dropped to 8.9 percent in the three months to December of 2017 from 9.6 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest jobless rate since the first quarter of 2009. Meantime, the employment rate increased by 0.6 percentage points to 65.7 percent, its highest level since early 1980s; while the activity rate edged up to 72.0 percent from 71.9 percent in Q3.

The average ILO unemployment rate in metropolitan France and the overseas departments (excluding Mayotte) fell to 8.9 percent from 9.6 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest level since early 2009. In metropolitan France only, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points from the preceding quarter to 8.6 percent, as the number of unemployed fell by 205,000 to 2.5 million. The unemployment declined across all age groups, particularly among youths and persons aged 25 to 49. Among unemployed, 1.1 million were seeking a job for at least one year. The long-term unemployment rate  went down to 3.6 percent from 4.2 percent in Q3. 

In the fourth quarter, the employment rate of the population aged 15-64 years increased by 0.6 percentage points from the previous period to 65.7 percent, the highest level since early 1980s. It increased across all age groups, particularly among youths and persons aged 50 to 64. Over a year, the employment rate increased by 1.0 percentage points.

About 5.6 percent of the employed persons were underemployed, meaning that they had a part-time job but wished to work more. The ratio decreased by 0.5 percentage points compared to Q3, and by 0.6 percentage points year on year.

The activity rate of people aged 15-64 edged up to 72.0 oercent (from 71.9 percent in the September quarter). Over a year, it increased by 0.3 percentage points. Among inactive people, 1.5 million persons wished to work without being considered as unemployed according to the ILO definition: they made up the halo of unemployment. Their number increased by 77,000 compared to Q3 and nearly steady over a year.




Wednesday February 07 2018
French Trade Gap at 1-1/2-Year Low in December
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The trade deficit in France decreased to EUR 3.47 billion in December of 2017 from a downwardly revised EUR 5.62 billion in November and compared with market consensus of a EUR 4.9 billion shortfall. Exports went up much more than imports and reached a record high value amid rising Airbus sales to Malaysia, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and Thailand. For 2017, the trade gap widened to EUR 62.3 billion from EUR 48.3 billion in 2016, the highest level since 2012.

Exports grew 5.9 percent month-over-month to a record of EUR 41.6 billion, reversing from an upwardly revised 2.2 percent decline in November and after three consecutive months of falls. Sales went up mostly for aerospace products (44.4 percent), due to a strong rise in Airbus deliveries (64 units compared to 35 in November). Other increases were also seen in exports of ships, trains, motorcycles (29.6 percent); chemical products (6.9 percent), mainly to the EU; refined oil (5.2 percent), especially to Algeria, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates; metallurgy and metal products (4.8 percent); autos (3.7 percent), mainly to Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, Japan and China; hydrocarbons (1.8 percent); and clothing (1.7 percent), namely leather goods to Singapore, Hong Kong and the US. 

Imports increased only 0.4 percent to EUR 45.1 billion, following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent fall in November. Biggest rises were seen in purchases of chemicals (4.9 percent); autos (4 percent); rubber and plastic products (3.8 percent); pharmaceuticals (3.5 percent); and perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (3 percent). On the other hand, main drops were recorded for works of art, technical documentation, publishing products (-10.8 percent); aerospace products (-8.2 percent) and refined oil (-3.2 percent).




Wednesday January 31 2018
French January Inflation Rate at Over 5-Year High
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The French consumer price inflation is expected to rise to 1.4 percent year-on-year in January 2018 from 1.2 percent in the previous month and above market consensus of 1.1 percent, the preliminary estimate showed. It was the highest inflation rate since November 2012.

Year-on-year, upward pressure should come from: energy (5.2 percent from 5 percent in December); services (1.3 percent from 1 percent); manufactured products (0.1 percent from -0.1 percent); tobacco (5.8 percent from 6 percent); and food (1.2 percent from 1.3 percent), of which fresh food (1.6 percent from 2.6 percent) and other food (1.1 percent, the same as in December).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices should fall by 0.1 percent in January, after a 0.3 percent gain in December. Manufactured product prices should fell back significantly, due to the beginning of winter sales. Tobacco prices are also expected to decline while services prices should rise at a slower pace. On the other hand, energy prices should accelerate sharply because of the increase in Brent crude and in taxation. Food prices are set to rise. 

The harmonised index of consumer prices is expected to rise by 1.5 percent from the previous year; and to decrease by 0.1 percent from the previous month.




Tuesday January 30 2018
French Q4 GDP Growth Beats Estimates
Insee | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The French economy advanced 0.6 percent on quarter in the three months to December of 2017, after a downwardly revised 0.5 percent growth in the previous quarter and above market consensus of a 0.5 percent expansion, the preliminary estimate showed. It marked the sixth straight quarter of growth, mainly driven by fixed investment and exports while household consumption and government spending went up at slower paces. For full 2017, the economy expanded by 1.9 percent, the strongest growth rate since 2011.

In the fourth quarter, positive contribution to GDP came from final domestic demand (0.5 percentage points) and net foreign demand (0.6 percentage points). On the other hand, changes in inventories contributed negatively (−0.5 percentage points).

Gross fixed capital formation rose at a faster 1.1 percent, after a 0.9 percent rise in the September quarter. Meanwhile, household consumption increased by 0.3 percent, slower than a 0.6 percent gain in the second quarter. Government expenditure went up by 0.4 percent, compared to a 0.6 percent growth in Q3. 

Exports grew by 2.6 percent, much stronger than a 1.1 percent increase in the preceding quarter; while imports rose by 0.7 percent, after a 2.4 percent growth in the previous period.

Year-on-year, the economy grew by 2.4 percent, following a 2.3 percent growth in the previous period. It was the fastest expansion since the first quarter of 2011.




Friday January 12 2018
French December Inflation Rate Confirmed at 1.2%
INSEE | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The consumer price index in France rose by 1.2 percent year-on-year in December of 2017, matching the preliminary estimate, the same pace as in the previous month. The inflation rate remains at its highest level since April, amid rising prices of tobacco and a lower drop in those of manufactured products.

Year-on-year, prices continued to advance for tobacco (6 percent vs 4.4 percent in November). Additionaly, those of manufactured goods fell at a slower pace (-0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent), as cost decreased less for clothing and footwear (-0.1 percent vs -0.3 percent) while grew more for other manufactured products (0.3 percent vs 0.1 percent).

On the other hand, prices eased for energy (5 percent from 5.4 percent), driven by petrolem products (8.2 percent vs 8.6 percent); gas (2.6 percent vs 4.1 percent) and electricity (1.5 percent, steady from November). Also, prices of food slowed (1.3 percent vs 1.5 percent), namely fresh food (2.6 percent vs 3.6 percent) and other food (1.1 percent, unchanged from November) while cost of services remained steady (at 1 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, rose 0.6 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in the previous 5 months.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up by 0.3 percent in December, in line with a preliminary reading, and above a 0.1 percent rise in November. This increase came from a seasonal rebound in services prices and, in a lesser extent, from that of manufactured product prices. On the other hand, energy prices and tobacco prices slowed down and those of food were stable.

The harmonized index of consumer prices increased by 1.2 percent from the previous year; and inched up by 0.4 percent from the previous month.


Tuesday January 09 2018
French Trade Gap Highest in 9 Months
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The trade deficit in France increased to EUR 5.69 billion in November of 2017 from an upwardly revised EUR 5.29 billion in October and well above market expectations of a EUR 4.7 billion gap. It is the highest trade shortfall since February as exports fell for the third straight month. Energy products, specially natural hydrocarbons accounted the most for the wider deficit, amid a sharp rise in supply, price growth and lower sales. A decline in shipments of autos and parts and clothing also weighed down on exports.

Exports went down 1.6 percent month-over-month to EUR 39.3 billion, following a 0.4 percent drop in October. Sales declined for hydrocarbons (-11.3 percent), namely natural gas to Lebanon and Spain and electricity; pharmaceuticals (-8.2 percent) to Switzerland, China and Belgium; aerospace industry (-6.2 percent), namely aircraft to Germany, the US and Asia  and satellites to South Korea; refined oil (-4.5 percent) to the US, Belgium, Slovenia and Dominican Republic; autos and parts (-2.7 percent) to the EU, the US, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil and Thailand; clothing and textiles (-0.8 percent). 

Imports declined 0.5 percent month-over-month to EUR 45 billion, reversing from a 0.8 percent rise in October. Biggest drops were seen in purchases of pharmaceuticals (-20.7 percent); works of art, technical documentation, publishing products (-7.2 percent); wood, paper, cardboard (-3.3 percent); autos (-2.9 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (-2.8 percent) and chemicals (-2.8 percent). On the other hand, a rise in imports was recorded for natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity (18.1 percent), mainly due to higher oil prices; refined oil (4.4 percent); ships, trains, motorcycles (4.4 percent); textiles and clothing (3 percent), namely clothing from China and Bangladesh, and shoes from Vietnam and Indonesia.


Friday January 05 2018
French December Inflation Rate Unchanged at 7-Month High
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

French consumer price inflation is expected to remain unchanged at 1.2 percent year-on-year in December 2017, in line with market expectations, the preliminary estimate showed. The inflation rate stood at its highest level since April.

Year-on-year, upward pressure should come from: tobacco (6 percent from 4.4 percent in November); energy (5.1 percent from 5.4 percent); food (1.3 percent from 1.5 percent), of which fresh food (2.6 percent from 3.6 percent) and other food (1.1 percent, the same as in November); and services (1 percent, the same as in November). In contrast, prices of manufactured products edged down 0.1 percent, after a 0.2 percent decline in the previous month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices should rise by 0.3 percent in December, after a 0.1 percent gain in November. This sharper rise should come from a rebound in services prices and in manufactured product prices. On the other hand, energy prices should slow down in the wake of those of petroleum product prices. Tobacco prices should decelerate too. Lastly, food prices should be stable over one month.

The harmonised index of consumer prices is expected to rise by 1.3 percent from the previous year; and by 0.4 percent from the previous month.


Friday December 22 2017
French Q3 GDP Growth Revised Up to 0.6%
INSEE | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The French economy expanded by 0.6 percent on quarter in the three months to September 2017, above the second estimate of 0.5 percent, as government spending increased faster than previously expected. Household consumption was confirmed to rise at a faster pace while fixed investment growth slowed and foreign trade contributed negatively.

The positive contribution to GDP came from changes in inventories (0.5 percentage points), household final consumption expenditure (0.3 percentage points), fixed investment (0.2 percentage points) and government spending (0.1 percentage points); while net trade had a negative contribution of 0.6 percentage points.

Household consumption grew by 0.6 percent in the third quarter, faster than a 0.3 percent expansion in the previous period and government spending increased by 0.6 percent, following a 0.5 percent gain in Q2. Meanwhile, gross fixed capital formation rose by 0.9 percent, easing from a 1.1 percent advance in the previous three-month period.

Imports jumped by 2.6 percent, accelerating from a 0.1 percent gain in the second quarter; while exports rose at a slower 0.8 percent, following a 2 percent increase.

Year-on-year, the economy grew 2.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, above the second estimate of 2.2 percent and following a 1.8 percent expansion in the previous period. It was the strongest pace of expansion since the second quarter of 2011.


Thursday December 14 2017
French November Inflation Rate Confirmed at 1.2%
INSEE, France l Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

French consumer prices rose by 1.2 percent year-on-year in November of 2017, matching the preliminary estimate and following a 1.1 percent gain in the prior month. It was the highest inflation rate since April, driven by higher prices of energy and tobacco while cost of manufactured goods declined less.

Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for: energy (5.4 percent from 4.8 percent in October), namely cost of petroleum products (8.6 percent from 7.4 percent) and those of city gas (4.1 percent from 3.3 percent); and tobacco (4.4 percent from 2.4 percent). Meantime, cost increased at the same pace for food (1.5 percent) and services (1 percent). In addition, prices of manufactured goods went down 0.2 percent, after decreasing 0.3 percent in the previous month.

Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, stood at 0.5 percent for the fifth consecutive month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 0.1 percent in November, in line with a preliminary reading, the same pace as in October. This increase is due in particular to rising energy prices and an increase in those of tobacco. Prices for services and manufactured goods were down slightly. Food prices slowed down sharply due to lower prices for fresh produce, which rebounded markedly in October.

The harmonized index of consumer prices increased by 1.2 percent from the previous year; and edged up by 0.1 percent from the previous month.


Thursday December 07 2017
French October Trade Deficit Largest in 3 Months
Ministère de l'Économie et des Finances l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

French trade deficit widened to EUR 5 billion in October of 2017 from a EUR 4.6 billion in September and beating market expectations of a EUR 4.6 billion gap.

Imports increased by 1.1  percent from the previous month to EUR 45.4 billion in October, as purchases went up for: Aerospace industry (7.8 percent); electrical and household equipment (0.1 percent); jewelry, toys, furniture (0.5 percent); and industrial and agriculture machinery (0.7 percent); automotive products (4.8 percent); works of arts, technical documentation, publishing products (17.9 percent); pharmaceuticals (24.4 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (2.7 percent); agri-food products (0.1 percent); ships, trains, bikes (0.7 percent); wood, paper, cardboard (1.4 percent), and metallurgical and metal products  (7.3 percent). In contrast, purchases fell for: Natural hydrocarbons (-3.3 percent); computers, electronics and optical (-1 percent); textiles, leather (-3 percent); refined oil (-0.3 percent); chemicals (-1.2 percent), and perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (-1.3 percent).
 
Imports increased from the Middle East (13.5 percent), mainly from Saudi Arabia (22.4 percent); the EU (2.9 percent), mainly from Finland  (17.9 percent) and Germany (0.8 pcercent); Africa (5 percent). In contrast, purchases decreased from Asia (-0.6 percent) and America (-7 percent).
 
Exports rose by 0.4 percent to EUR 40.4 billion, driven by higher sales of: Works of arts, technical documentation, publishing products  (47.8 percent); industrial and agriculture machinery (2.5 percent); automotive products (2.3 percent); agri-food products (1.7 percent); rubber products, plastics, various minerals (2.7 percent); computers, electronics and optical (3.2 percent); metallurgical and metal products (8.1 percent); ships, trains, bikes (17.3 percent); jewelry, toys, furniture (0.3 percent); pharmaceuticals (6.6 percent); electrical and household equipment (0.8 percent); perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products (1.5 percent); wood, paper, cardboard (4.2 percent); textiles, leather (0.9 percent), and natural hydrocarbons  (11.1 percent). Meanwhile, outbound shipments fell for: refined oil (-6.7 percent); aerospace industry (-6.5 percent); agriculture products (-0.6 percent), and chemicals (-2.6 percent).
 
Exports increased to Africa (5.5 percent), mainly to Ethiopia (1.124.2 percent); Middle East (10.7 percent), mainly to Qatar (901.5 percent); the EU (4.9 percent), mainly to Germany (10.6 percent) and Spain (4.7 percent).In contrast, sales decreased to Asia (-4.6 percent) and America (-8.1 percent).