France has entered into a recession as a result of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, the country’s national bank said on Wednesday. The French economy shrank by six per cent in the first quarter of 2020, according to initial Banque de France estimates published on Wednesday.
GDP already shrank by 0.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2019 in the eurozone’s second largest economy, according to the nation’s statistics office. Economists talk of a country entering into a recession when the economy shrinks for two quarters in a row.
Ahead of the outbreak of the current crisis, France’s economy had been forecast slight growth of 0.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2020. However, in light of the pandemic, the French Government is now bracing itself for the nation’s worst recession since 1945.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le-Maire has said he expects the current crisis to exceed that of the 2009 financial crisis when the economy of the highly-indebted country shrank by 2.9 per cent, at the time of the most severe contraction since the end of World War II. France has, for the past three weeks, imposed strict lockdown measures on its population, with many economic sectors facing severe limitations on their activities.