As in many other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic and the strict national containment measures have led to a severe drop in economic output in France. The French lockdown of the economy has been especially strict. As elsewhere, travel, tourism, hospitality, entertainment and many other sectors of the economy were hard hit. Gross domestic product (GDP) already dropped by 5.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter, there will be a higher contraction of perhaps around twenty percent. Since forecasts or scenarios are associated with very high levels of uncertainty at the moment, I do not publish a detailed economic forecast. The economic recovery has started, slowly but surely, and will continue during this summer. However, for the whole year of 2020, I expect a severe recession of around 12 percent. This will be followed by a relatively strong rebound of around 8 percent in 2021. In a more dramatic scenario (for instance, if there is a second wave of the pandemic), the contraction in 2020 will be at around 15 percent. As I mentioned above, such forecasts are obviously associated with a high degree of uncertainty. Especially, there is the risk of a second wave of the pandemic. At the global scale, worldwide tensions could increase – especially between the United States and China. And at the European level, it is still not clear how exactly Brexit will occur and whether it will cause additional risks to the French economy – at least in the short term.
While I use several models in my forecasts, my published numbers are also strongly influenced by my personal experience and judgment. One may say that my forecasts are produced by interactions between me and the machine.
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