It’s pumping… On February 8, the results of foreign trade were published by the customs, and the “Conjuncture Point” of February – by INSEE. Julien Pouget, Head of Economics, recalled the changing context in which the economy operates during an online press conference: persistent geopolitical tensions that lead to higher oil prices, inflation that prompts the hypothesis of monetary tightening policies. , wave Omicron and its sanitary measures.
Nevertheless, ” the shadow cast by a micron wave (…) must be limited and temporary”, Judge Julien Pouget. Therefore, for the first two quarters of 2022, INSEE forecasts growth of around 0.3% and then 0.6%. Growth growth in the middle of the year should be +3.2%.
And for now, this observation is for the fourth quarter of 2021, when ” France returned to pre-crisis levels of activity », announces Julien Pouget. This is even 1% higher than in the last quarter of 2019. However, overall for the year remains lower than in 2019.
Depending on the sector, economic activity has developed in the opposite way: market services have exceeded pre-crisis levels, while accommodation and food remain significantly lower (16%). The same applies to industry, but with differences. Conversely, the very dynamic information, communications and IT sector has exceeded this threshold.
On the demand side, “ consumption has returned to pre-crisis levels », continues the economist. Another upward forecast from INSEE concerns inflation at a rate of 3 to 3.5% in the coming months: the increase in product prices should be passed on to consumer prices for food and manufactured goods. ” In industry and agriculture for a year there has been an increase in prices for products »recalls Olivier Simon, head of economic reporting.
This increase is respectively 16.9% for industry and 17.6% for agriculture (in December 2021 year on year). And vice versa, ” services, there was a more moderate increase in prices for their products “, – adds the expert. Contained at 2.9%, it is, however, much higher for some sectors under pressure, such as maritime transport (+85% yoy, autumn 2021). INSEE also notes that the current headline inflation rate would be at least one point higher without gas and electricity price shields.
Problems with recruitment, supply, export…
In this changing context, the Statistical Institute also assessed two worrying phenomena: recruitment and supply difficulties. These latter have “ a bit retarded », notes Julien Pouget. If in October last year 45% of industrial companies announced problems, today they are already 35%.
Corn “ this is still a very high level », Julien Pouget comments. In construction, the indicator, about 30%, has remained virtually unchanged since last autumn. On the other hand, demand-side constraints remain limited (20%). Another painful topic “ at the beginning of the year, recruitment difficulties increased or remained at a high level »continues Julien Pouget. In industry, they are at a record level: 61%, twice the usual rate. In the service sector, this figure is 54%. And in construction it reaches 77%, but its level is similar to the pre-crisis level.
Another worrisome reason voiced by customs: a record trade deficit. The latter increased by 20 billion euros and reached 84.7 billion euros in 2021, when GDP grew by 7%. Several events are involved.
Driven by household consumption and business investment, imports of goods and materials increased by 19%, while prices rose sharply, especially for energy. Exports increased by 17% but are still hurt by weaker performance in key sectors such as aircraft manufacturing.
In addition, France’s market share in merchandise exports to the eurozone continued to decline last year, according to firm Rexocode, quoted by the economic daily. Echo dated 8 February. It fell to 12.5%, down from 12.9% in 2020 and 13.9% in 2019. Conversely, Italy and Spain increased their market share.