The GDP would grow by 5.75% in France this year. Since the start of the crisis, households have saved 142 billion euros. This figure could climb to 180 billion at the end of the year, according to the Banque de France.
A real jump in the second half of the year, which would allow growth to jump by nearly 6% this year – 5.75% exactly: the Bank of France sees the hexagonal economic horizon become clearer. Admittedly, this significant increase in activity corresponds to a partly technical jump after the GDP plunge of nearly 8% in 2020; but after a start to the year still marked by health restrictions, things are about to get back to normal thanks to “Phased deconfinement and acceleration of the vaccination campaign”, notes the institution in the economic report it publishes on Monday. France would thus do better this year than the euro zone, whose growth would reach 4.6%.
What households will do with the money put aside over the past fifteen months remains key for the future. Since the start of the crisis, nearly 142 billion euros have been saved; this figure could well climb to 180 billion by the end of 2021, anticipates the Banque de France. This would not prevent a real rebound in household consumption in the second half of 2021.
Business investment should progress very clearly this year (+ 9.7%) after the vertiginous drop in 2020 (-8.9%). And exports are set to rise again thanks to the resumption of international trade “and the start of standardization in the tourism and aeronautics sectors, traditional strengths of French specialization”.
All this would make it possible to approach 2022 in a rather confident manner. In the absence of new restrictions, French growth could thus reach 4% next year. “Household spending should accelerate again in 2022 thanks to the savings surplus accumulated previously; their investment would be supported in particular in 2021 and 2022, which would allow them to catch up with projects postponed during the health crisis ”. Especially since, preserved during the crisis, their purchasing power would gradually recover.
Like the government, the Banque de France sees activity start to exceed its pre-Covid level from the first quarter of 2022, “ie one quarter earlier than in our March projection,” she wrote in her note. Growth should then return to a level more in line with a correct cruising speed, at 2% in 2023.
In this context, the labor market should “Confirm its resilience, thanks to all the emergency measures put in place to limit the destruction of jobs at the heart of the crisis, then to fairly significant net job creations from 2021 to 2023”. Taking into account a rapid rise in the working population which would catch up with its pre-crisis trend, the unemployment rate should reach 9.3% during the first half of 2022, before falling to come back significantly below 9% in 2023.
The Banque de France warns that two hazards may come up against this recovery scenario: the extent and speed of use of the surplus financial savings accumulated by households, the extent and duration of pressure on input prices, as well as possible increases in recruitment difficulties.