UPDATE 1-France could experience the worst slowdown after World War II this year – Minister

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PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) – France will likely experience its deepest economic slowdown this year since the end of the Second World War, far exceeding the slump seen after the global financial crisis, its finance minister said on Monday.

Bruno Le Maire said during a teleconference Senate hearing that the second largest economy in the eurozone is likely to contract more than in 2009.

“It shows the magnitude of the economic shock we are facing,” he said.

The government estimated last month in an emergency budget update that the economy would contract by 1% this year, but has since said it should revise that figure.

With the French economy currently at two-thirds of normal levels, each month of government-imposed confinement could drop growth by 3 percentage points, the official statistics agency INSEE estimated last month.

Some 5 million French workers – one in four in the private sector – have been put on state-subsidized leave to avoid massive and permanent layoffs, the Labor Ministry announced on Monday. (Report by Leigh Thomas; edited by Alison Williams and Hugh Lawson)

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