Foreign trade: the deficit is reduced thanks to lower energy purchases

Posted Dec 7 2022 at 10:58Updated 7 Dec. 2022 at 11:31

It’s a slight improvement, even if it only has the thickness of the line. In October, as a moving average over three months, France’s foreign trade deficit improved very slightly to reach 14.4 billion euros. “In October 2022, the trade balance of goods recovered by 0.5 billion euros […] this revival is carried by the improvement of the energy balance”, explains this Wednesday morning the administration of the Customs.

The deficit for the month of September is, at the same time, revised significantly downwards to 14.9 billion euros. Which is much better than the record figure of 16.8 billion initially announced. But the improvement is largely deceptive since it is due to the method of calculation favored by Customs: “taking into account the monthly data for October 2022 in the centered moving average for the month of September 2022 leads to a significant revision of it compared to that published last month”, indeed justify the Customs experts.

A deficit which is already close to that anticipated by the executive

However, over the past twelve months, the trade deficit has continued to deteriorate. It now reaches 154.2 billion euros and is getting dangerously closer to the threshold anticipated by the executive. According to the finance bill for 2023, the French trade deficit should reach 156 billion euros this year, slightly less than double that of 2021 (85 billion), which was already a record.

At this rate, the trade deficit should from November be higher than the government’s projections, which are also counting on a very slight improvement in 2023. Still according to the PLF, the deficit will still reach 154 billion next year.

Declining energy supplies

In detail, in October, exports and imports improved compared to the previous month. The movement is particularly noticeable on the import side, which fell by 0.9 billion from one month to the next and reached 65.8 billion euros.

In question, the 4.9% drop in energy supplies to France. A welcome drop as France now favors “energy sobriety” dear to the executive and energy purchases had “continuously increased since the end of 2020”, as Customs reminds us.

This fuck is explained by two factors, underline the Customs. On the one hand, by “the fall in gas imports for which stocks were almost replenished at the end of September 2022, thanks to the filling campaign for the winter of 2022/2023”. On the other hand, “by the fall in electricity imports in volume – in particular in industry – but also by that of electricity import prices which fell sharply between September and October”.

A situation that also shows an improvement in France’s energy balance. As a moving average over three months, the energy deficit improved by 0.5 billion to stand at 10.5 billion euros.

On the export side, the decline is less significant. They are even progressing in the consumer goods sector. In the end, French sales taken as a whole decreased by 400 million euros in October, to reach 51.4 billion.

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