Faced with the slowdown in activity in the euro zone, French growth is showing resistance by confirming its pace in the third quarter.
According to an initial estimate published Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.3% between July and September, as in the first two quarters of the year.
This figure reinforces the forecasts of the government which forecasts a growth of 1.4% for the year 2019, against 0.5% in Germany.
Increase in household consumption
In the third quarter, French growth was driven by a slight rise in household consumption. This rose by 0.3%, thanks in particular to the purchase of consumer goods.
The measures taken by the government during the Yellow Vest crisis are expected to increase the purchasing power of households by an average of 800 euros in 2019, an increase of 2.3%, the unheard of since 2007.
Except that households, by prudence, tend to favor their savings with this surplus of income. So much so that private investment, especially in real estate, stagnated after a second quarter marked by a rise in transactions.
Another black spot for growth, foreign trade was penalized, with an increase in imports (+ 1.4%) that only offset the slight rebound in exports (+ 0.3% in the third quarter after -0.1 %).
Fewer business failures
In this generally favorable context, corporate insolvencies in France were 10,500 in the third quarter, down 6.4% year-on-year.
According to Altares, this level had never been achieved in twelve years. Several sectors such as construction, catering and personal services are doing better.
One of the areas of concern is the failures of several large SMEs. According to Altares, 73 companies with over 50 employees went to court in the third quarter, compared with 56 at the same time last year.
As a result, the number of jobs lost was higher compared to the same period of last year: 37,300 against 34,950 in the summer of 2018. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate of 8.7% in the third quarter is at lowest since 10 years.
For the coming months, several factors could slow activity in the country: social mobilization on pension reform, the SNCF strike and the slowdown in the automotive market …