France’s Le Maire sees 2021 growth higher than 6.25% forecast

FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Le Maire and Eurogroup head Donohoe in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a joint news conference with Paschal Donohoe, Eurogroup President and Irish Finance Minister, (not seen) after a meeting at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

January 4, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) -French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday that the country’s growth would be significantly higher this year than the government’s current forecast of 6.25%.

Le Maire also told RTL radio that even though the surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant was disrupting some sectors there was no risk of it paralysing the economy.

“There may be some difficulties in January but there is no risk whatsoever of the economy being paralysed by Omicron”, he said.

The latest COVID-19 variant sweeping across the globe has put France’s average number of daily new cases at a record level of 167,338, a figure that jumped almost fivefold in a month.

Le Maire stood by its forecast for 4% economic growth for this year but for 2021 he said the gross domestic product (GDP) would be significantly higher than the current 6.25% government forecast.

This forecast is at the low end of a range of official projections, with the Banque de France seeing the 2021 GDP at 6,7%, the IMF at 6,75% and the OECD at 6,8%.

“(France) will have a 2021 public deficit that will ‘significantly lower’ than 8% of gross domestic product whereas the government had expected an 8.2% ratio”, Le Maire also said.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Louise Heavens)