PARIS (Reuters) – The French economy is on course to rebound in the first half of 2021 as long as the health crisis stabilises, the INSEE official statistics agency said on Tuesday.
The euro zone’s second-biggest economy is set to grow 3% in the first quarter from the current quarter, when it is expected to contract by 4%, INSEE said in its latest economic outlook.
The quarterly growth rate will then moderate slightly to 2% in the second quarter, leaving the economy 3% smaller than it was before the crisis by mid-2021.
The French economy has slumped again this quarter after the government imposed a second lockdown from late October to contain a second wave of infections that has since eased.
As a result, INSEE estimated the French economy will contract by 9% in 2020 overall, in line with forecasts by other institutions but less than the 11% expected by the government.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Catherine Evans)