France’s trade deficit almost doubled in 2022 and reached 164 billion euros

Under the effect of the outbreak of gas, petroleum and raw materials, the balance between imports and exports has reached its highest level since the post-war period.

by Béatrice Madeline

After hitting manufacturers and businesses hard, fueling prices and cropped the purchasing power of households, the shock wave of the energy crisis on the French economy does not stop to be smelled. Under the effect of the outbreak of gas, petroleum and raw materials, the French trade deficit, which had come close to 85 billion euros in 2021, almost doubled in 2022. It reached 164 billion euros, according to the Figures published Tuesday, January 7 by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the worst result since the post-war period.

The “price” effect has indeed led to an increase of 29 % of imports in value, while exports, less prone to the impact of energy, were progressing at the same time as 18 % . “We were confronted in 2022 with an exceptional situation, explains Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate responsible for foreign trade, attractiveness and French from abroad. We were forced to import electricity to compensate for the fact That many nuclear reactors were in maintenance, details the minister. And the shock [of war] in Ukraine has produced a surge in gas and petroleum prices, which could see their prices multiplied by two or three. “

“In the end, more than 80 % of the worsening of the deficit is explained by the increase in the energy bill,” explains the minister. This increased from 45 billion euros in 2021 to 115 billion in 2022. To this impact of prices is added the weakness of the euro against the dollar: the single currency lost 11 % in 2022 against the greenback . “We export less, and the energy denominated in dollars costs all the more,” we add in the entourage of Mr. Becht.

“Structural part”

For once, “the situation is not specific to France”, and its historic Achilles heel, namely its low competitiveness, recalls Charlotte de Montpellier, economist at ING. Germany, which is rather a good student for exports in Europe, achieved a surplus of 76 billion euros in 2022, down 56 % compared to the previous year, according to figures published, Thursday 2 February, by the Federal Office of German Statistics.

But the outbreak of energy does not explain everything. The impact of the COVVI-19 crisis, shortages of materials or strategic components such as semiconductors, as well as supply difficulties, still felt in 2022, prevented certain sectors, usually performing at the export, to find their pre-crisis levels. This is particularly the case of aeronautics and the automobile, whose exports have not yet found the level of 2019.

You have 58.65% of this article to read. The continuation is reserved for subscribers.

/Media reports cited above.