The French gross domestic product (GDP) should be “slightly up in the 1st quarter compared to the previous quarter” but the level of activity will remain 5% below its pre-crisis level in February and March, estimated Monday the Bank of France. “Sectors not directly exposed to sanitary measures have activity close to normal” while the others “maintain a high level of loss”, specifies the central bank in its economic report.
The level of activity therefore capped at 95% of the pre-crisis level, i.e. that of February 2020, since December. This level was 69% last April, before rising to 97% in August, September and October. The Banque de France specifies that its “forecast for the month of March remains surrounded by a large margin of uncertainty” linked to the progress of the vaccination campaign on the one hand, and variants of the coronavirus on the other.
The aviation industry in slow motion
Its projections are based on its survey of 8,500 companies from February 24 to March 3, but also on bank card spending which “remained broadly stable over the months of January and February”. In addition, “the indicators of road traffic, electricity consumption and noise in Ile-de-France seem to show a slight improvement” in activity.
The production capacity utilization rate in industry increased by one point at least in February, to 76%, against 79% before the crisis. But it is still “particularly low in the aeronautics and other transport sector” at 67%, while the chemical industry is “operating close to normal”, according to the economic report.
The service sector “is generally showing very slight growth, while business leaders rather expected a decline last month”, notes the Banque de France. While it remains at a very low level in the hotel and catering industry, activity “is returning to or approaching normal” in publishing and “business services such as legal and accounting activities or consulting services. management ”. For 2021 as a whole, the Banque de France has been forecasting 5% growth in the French economy since December.