July 29, 2021

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The eco brief. With the pandemic, France buys more than it sells and the deficit is widening


Currently, France buys more than it sells to other countries. (CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)

France buys more from other countries than it sells its products to them. The balance is therefore on the wrong side: that of the deficit, which continues to widen. Since the beginning of the year, the country is at less 71 billion euros, or nearly 3% of GDP, the national wealth produced over the year.

The damage is rather limited in terms of trade with the States European neighbors, but the hole is widening with countries like China and Hong Kong. France buys them more products than it sells to them, particularly in recent months, in the midst of a pandemic, with medical equipment.

Some sectors are more affected than others. Aeronautics is affected first. Airbus and the aircraft industry know something about this. Everything that is transport equipment is also concerned. The coronavirus pandemic is putting a lasting brake on travel and everything related to mobility. It is the strengths of French exports that are being attacked head-on here, with the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them. Enough to fuel the debate: should the aeronautics sector be overwhelmed even more than it is at the moment?

According to economist Denis Ferrand, who heads the Rexecode conjuncture institute, the shock on these exports is so violent that it no longer allows France to benefit from what was always positive until now, namely the drop oil prices. Cheaper oil made it easier for the country to export its industrial skills and gain in exchange. But the situation is no longer the same.