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Economy in Brief

French GDP Growth Slows in Q1; Data Rebased to 2000 Prices
by Carol Stone May 20, 2005

GDP growth in France slowed markedly in Q1 to 0.2% from 0.7% in Q4 2004. A smaller gain in household consumption and an outright decline in exports were responsible for the sluggish Q1 performance. Notably, however, fixed capital formation sustained its Q4 gain of 1.3%; of this, nonfinancial corporations' capital investment grew 1.6%, making for a 4.0% advance year-on-year.

By industry, value added in manufacturing fell 0.2%, with declines in intermediate goods and automobile production. Among service-producing industries, overall growth was 0.3%, following 0.7% in Q4. Performances of individual service sectors was quite mixed, with declines, for instance, in transportation and personal services, but further sizable increases in finance and real estate.

The volume measures in this GDP report for France are the first using 2000 as a base year, moving from 1995. The data are all revised historically. The price measures still have fixed weights, with 2000 prices. Chain-weighting of price indexes is set to be introduced in May 2006. In the table below, we show total GDP growth at 1995 prices; a quick comparison of these few observations suggests that the switch in base years had little impact on basic growth patterns, although it did alter individual periods.

France Q1 2005 Q4 2004 Year/Year 2004 2003 2002
GDP - 2000 Prices 0.2 0.7 1.7 2.1 0.9 1.3
Memo: GDP - 1995 Prices -- 0.9 -- 2.4 0.5 1.1
Household Consumption 0.7 1.1 2.2 2.3 1.6 2.3
Gross Fixed Capital Formation 1.3 1.3 3.3 2.2 2.7 -1.7
Exports -0.1 0.9 2.1 2.4 -1.7 1.5
Imports 0.6 1.0 7.0 6.1 1.3 1.5
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