Virus pushes French economy into deep recession

PARIS (AFP) – The French economy plunged into a deep recession last year as the coronavirus pandemic slashed total output by 8.3 per cent, official figures showed yesterday.

The figures were however slightly better than the nine-per- cent shrinkage initially indicated by the official statistics office INSEE as France suffered less in the latter part of the year from a second coronavirus lockdown.

The French economy contracted by a relatively modest 1.3 per cent in the last three months of 2020.

The government for its part had estimated the economy would shrink by a much worse 11 per cent for the year.

During the second virus lockdown later in the year “the loss of economic activity was much more modest than that of the first round in March-May 2020,” INSEE said.

But in the fourth quarter alone, gross domestic product (GDP) was down five-per-cent compared with fourth quarter 2019, it noted.

The French economy grew 1.5 per cent in 2019, putting it among the best performers in Europe, but the downturn last year marks its worst recession since World War II.

A person walks in Montmartre, Paris, France