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France: Economy#

The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With more than 84 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that mitigate economic inequality.

France's real GDP increased by 1.1% in 2015. The unemployment rate (including overseas territories) increased from 7.8% in 2008 to 9.9% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Youth unemployment in metropolitan France decreased from a high of 25.4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 24.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Lower-than-expected growth and high spending have strained France's public finances. The budget deficit rose sharply from 3.3% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 4% of GDP in 2014 and 2015, while France's public debt rose from 68% of GDP to more than 98% in 2015, and may hit 100% in 2016.

Elected on a conventionally leftist platform, President Francois HOLLANDE surprised and angered many supporters with a January 2014 speech announcing a sharp change in his economic policy, recasting himself as a liberalizing reformer. The government's budget for 2014 shifted the balance of fiscal consolidation from taxes to a total of $24 billion in spending cuts. In December 2014, HOLLANDE announced additional reforms, including a plan to extend commercial business hours, liberalize professional services, and sell off $6.2-12.4 billion in state owned assets. France’s tax burden remains well above the EU average and income tax cuts over the past decade are being partly reversed, particularly for higher earners. The top rate of income tax is 41%. The government is allowing a 75% payroll tax on salaries over $1.24 million to lapse.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$2.737 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.701 trillion (2015 est.)
$2.667 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.488 trillion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate1.3% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
0.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$42,400 (2016 est.)
$42,000 (2015 est.)
$41,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
22.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 54.8%
government consumption: 23.8%
investment in fixed capital: 21.8%
investment in inventories: 0.7%
exports of goods and services: 29.9%
imports of goods and services: -31% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 1.7%
industry: 19.4%
services: 78.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate1% (2016 est.)
Labor force30.48 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 3%
industry: 21.3%
services: 75.7% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate9.7% (2016 est.)
10.1% (2015 est.)
note: includes overseas territories
Population below poverty line8.1% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.4% (2013)
Distribution of family income - Gini index30.1 (2013)
30.5 (2012)
Budgetrevenues: $1.288 trillion
expenditures: $1.369 trillion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues51.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt96.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
96.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as int
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.3% (2016 est.)
0.1% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.05% (31 December 2014)
0.25% (31 December 2013)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate2% (31 December 2016 est.)
1.93% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.144 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.079 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of
Stock of broad money$2.541 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$2.771 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$3.64 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.528 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$2.088 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.086 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$2.301 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Current account balance-$11.52 billion (2016 est.)
-$4.832 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$505.4 billion (2016 est.)
$510.5 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
Exports - partnersGermany 15.9%, Spain 7.3%, US 7.2%, Italy 7.1%, UK 7.1%, Belgium 6.8% (2015)
Imports$525.4 billion (2016 est.)
$537.5 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
Imports - partnersGermany 19.5%, Belgium 10.7%, Italy 7.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Spain 6.8%, US 5.5%, China 5.4%, UK 4.3% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$138.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$143.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external$5.36 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$5.25 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$796.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$773.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.339 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.316 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)