Growth was maintained in the first quarter of 2023, despite households in great difficulty

The French economy saves face. In the first quarter, GDP managed to increase by 0.2% in three months, according to INSEE, after having come close to breaking end of 2022 (+0.02%, revised data). But this rebound is far from reassuring, as certain fundamentals seem to be weakened. So it is with households. Their consumption remains down (0% change, after -1% this winter), weighed down by food expenditure (-2.3%, 5th consecutive drop). Their investments are doing even less well (-1.4%, in continuous decline for 18 months), under the combined effect of a decrease in the construction of new housing and real estate transactions. Businesses are doing better: the production of goods and services is accelerating (+0.4%, driven by energy and transport); exports maintained their cruising speed (+1.1%, despite the violent decline in agriculture at -21.5%); investment stabilized (+0.1%). Under these conditions, if the economy remained as it is, notes INSEE, growth in 2023 could reach +0.4%. A more modest level than expected by the government (+1% forecast by Bercy).

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