France warns of 8% drop in GDP this year after prolonged lockout

0
51


  • France reported 574 new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to nearly 15,000, but the number of people in serious condition declined for the fifth consecutive day, with 24 fewer.
  • The total amount of this solidarity fund would now reach seven billion euros, he said, and some 900,000 companies have already asked for help.
  • He also advised against planning a summer vacation outside of Europe, after Macron said borders with non-European countries will remain closed until further notice.

PARIS: France’s economy set to shrink eight percent worse than expected this year after President Emmanuel Macron extended the coronavirus lockout until May 11, although officials warned on Tuesday that any lifting of orders for stay at home would be gradual at best.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire previously targeted a six percent drop in GDP for the year, but it was based on a lockdown that only lasted one month, instead of the two-month period. announced by Macron in a television address Monday evening.

The Mayor said on BFM television that, given the uncertain outlook for economies around the world, particularly in the United States and Asia, “these forecasts should be viewed with caution”.

The massive relief effort for bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and other businesses closed during the foreclosure will push France’s budget deficit to nine percent of GDP this year, said Minister of Budget Gerald Darmanin, separately in an interview with France Info radio.

“Every day, every week of sequestration … worsens our public finances,” he said, adding that France’s debt would amount to 115% of GDP, compared to just under 100% last year.

Both forecasts go well beyond the limits set by the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact, which provides for deficit caps at 3% of GDP and a debt-to-GDP ratio of no more than 60%.

But EU officials have already signaled that the rules will be suspended as governments scramble to contain economic spillovers and prevent bankruptcies and mass layoffs.

The Mayor said government assistance to small businesses at risk of sinking after losing at least 50% of their revenues would be increased to 5,000 euros ($ 5,470) from 1,500 euros previously.

The total amount of this solidarity fund would now reach seven billion euros, he said, and some 900,000 companies have already asked for help.

“I still have to fight this”

Macron also warned that the easing of the lockdown in place since March 17 would depend on further declines in COVID-19 death and hospitalization rates, particularly in the number of people requiring intensive care.

France reported 574 new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to nearly 15,000, but the number of people in serious condition declined for the fifth consecutive day, with 24 fewer.

But even after May 11, authorities say many confinement rules will remain in effect, with most bars, restaurants and cinemas still closed, although some schools and stores are allowed to reopen.

“May 11 is a date we will have to save by respecting the confinement rules,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told France Inter radio.

“You cannot think that on May 12, we can say,” It is May, we can do what we want. We will still have to fight this, “he said.

He also advised against planning a summer vacation outside of Europe, after Macron said borders with non-European countries will remain closed until further notice.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said parents should not imagine that classes would resume as usual if the lockout restrictions were relaxed.

“Not all schools will open on May 11,” he said on France 2 television, noting that the objective was to guarantee children at risk of dropping out of school and low-income families with limited access. with parental help or the Internet among the first to return to their office.

“In May and June things will not return to normal,” he said, adding that students may be further apart from each other in class, and school days may be shortened.

Blanquer added that officials have not yet decided whether the face masks will be made available to teachers and students, although this is “highly possible”.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here