French economy to shrink 4.5 pct in Q4: INSEE

PARIS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — France’s post-lockdown economic recovery is set to taper off in the last quarter of the year as a second countrywide anti-coronavirus confinement takes a toll to business activity, the national statistics institute INSEE said on Wednesday evening.

The eurozone’s second-biggest economy will contract by 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter after a 18.7-percent rebound in the third quarter.

INSEE had previously expected a quarterly growth contraction of between 2.5 and 6 percent depending on the coronavirus situation.

“After a strong, partly mechanical rebound in the third quarter, French economic activity should fall again during a partially confined fourth quarter,” it said.

On Oct. 30, in order to contain a second epidemic wave, the French government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.

INSEE noted that the economic fallout of the second lockdown is likely to be less severe than the first two-month confinement introduced in mid-March, with activity seen 12 percent below pre-crisis levels in November compared with about 30 percent in April.

For the October-December period, France is set to lose 8 percent of its economic activities, it added.

As to full-year economic performance, the stats agency expected French growth to contract by 9 percent, compared with a government forecast of 11 percent.

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