The reconfinement is causing the French economy to relapse, but less strongly than in the spring

INSEE expects a 2.5% to 6% drop in GDP in the last quarter depending on the duration of the confinement.

France’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall from 2.5% to 6% in the last quarter according to, estimated on Tuesday INSEE, which now expects a recession of between 9% and 10% on l set of 2020.

In November alone, the reconfinement will lead to a 13% drop in activity compared to the pre-crisis level, much less than the 30% drop recorded in April, also assesses the National Institute of Statistics in his last conjuncture note. If the impact is less than in spring, it is because “The astonishment has given way, as best it can, to adaptation”, underlines INSEE, with less strict confinement, health protocols and teleworking which allow activity to continue in many sectors, despite often degraded productivity.

Consumption should plunge 15% in November compared to the pre-crisis level, but again it is less than in March-April. More businesses have remained open and distance and online sales have developed a lot, whereas they were “at half-mast” at the end of March at the start of the first confinement, according to data from bank card transactions used by INSEE. Only the hotel and catering industry (-60% of activity) and household services which include leisure activities in particular (-40%) are experiencing a further halt, when most of the other sectors are resisting much better.

6% drop in GDP if confinement is extended

If containment were to end on December 1, the fall in GDP in the last quarter would be limited to 2.5%, while it could reach 6% if extended until the end of the year. The “median” scenario considered by INSEE, with prolonged confinement until mid-December and then lifted with the maintenance of certain restrictions, would lead to a decline in GDP of 4.5% over the period. The French economy would then still remain around 8% below its pre-crisis level, against 4% at the end of September.

Above all, the context of uncertainty over the end of the year and the second wave of the epidemic “Come to change the temporality of the crisis”, indicates INSEE, and “It is now probable that the health and economic situations will continue to be linked for at least the first half of the year 2021”. In other words, the strong recovery envisioned by the government may take time to materialize. If INSEE does not yet give a forecast for the year 2021, the government expects an 8% increase in GDP after an expected fall of 11% in 2020.