French growth 2022: companies have resisted, but inflation assigned households

After a minimum growth of 0.1 % in the fourth quarter, GDP displays an increase of 2.6 % last year, in net slowdown compared to 2021.

By Béatrice Madeline

started in optimism, in the wake of a post-Cavid-19 economic recovery (growth of 6.8 % in 2021), the year 2022 ends for the French economy on a much more note Mixed. The gross domestic product (GDP) displays a very small increase of 0.1 % in the fourth quarter, according to the indicators published, Tuesday, January 31, by INSEE, which brings French growth to 2.6 % of the year – slightly withdrawn from the anticipations of Bercy, which was tapped on 2.7 %.

Nevertheless, taking into account the shocks that have succeeded all year round – Wave Omicron, Russian invasion in Ukraine, energy crisis and, above all, rise in inflation -, published figures attest “exceptional resistance capacities” of the French economy, welcomed Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Look more closely, the balance sheet may be a little less flamboyant. “This figure of 2.6 % is good news, because we could fear a decline, but the dynamics of the year are weak,” said Nicolas Carnot, director of economic studies and syntheses at INSEE. In fact, the French economy started the year with a fanfare, with a growth achievement of 2.3 %, garnered in the last months of 2021. The increase in actual activity, in 2022, is tenuous. Above all, the display of a growth of 2.6 % masks a strong disparity between the situation of companies, still very wild despite the crises, and that of households, abused by inflation.

” Companies were able to continue to produce more than expected “

“Household consumption is once again the weak point,” observes Maxime Darmet, economist at Allianz Trade. Despite the holiday season, conducive to shopping, consumption fell 0.9 % in the fourth quarter. Over the whole year, it only increased by 2.7 %, half less than in 2021. With 4.6 %decrease purchases, households were particularly limited to the races in the ‘food – where inflation reaches 12 % – and on manufactured goods.

And they followed, by will or by force, the exhortations with energy sobriety. Energy consumption fell by 5.5 % in the fourth quarter and 4 % over the whole of 2022. This, in return, tends to improve foreign trade a little, since this contributes to a decrease in imports.

“If the indicators linked to households are rather in negative, those linked to companies are upwards, continues Stéphane Colliac, economist at BNP Paribas. Industrial production has been better than what we feared, in Any case far from the figure of 10 % fall announced at the beginning of winter. Companies were able to continue to produce more than expected. “

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/Media reports cited above.