French statistics office says economy worse than predictions
The French government's statistics office Insee said on Friday that France's economy would contract in 2009 at least twice as much as the government had predicted, dpa reported.
French GDP will decline by 1.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, Insee said, followed by a slight improvement to a drop of 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, because of the assumed effect of the stimulus plans initiated by the French and other governments.
However, the total deterioration of the French economy in the first half of 2009 will be 2.9 per cent. The French government has said that France's GDP would fall by only 1.5 per cent in 2009.
For the economy to conform to the government's forecasts, the French economy would then have to grow by 1.9 per cent in each of the last two quarters of the year, Insee said - a scenario that is highly unlikely in the current economic climate.
In addition, the declining economy will lead to at a loss of at least 400,000 jobs in the first half of the year. The government had foreseen a loss of 300,000 jobs for the entire year.
Insee said that by the end of the first half of 2009, French unemployment would stand at about 8.8 per cent, compared to 7.3 per cent one year earlier.