Apr 08, 2020 15:47 UTC
  • France’s economy shrinks most since World War II amid coronavirus pandemic

The French economy has shrunk about six percent in the first quarter of this year amid the spread of the new coronavirus and a consequent lockdown that has disrupted economic activity.

According to reports, the Bank of France said on Wednesday that economic activity had plunged 32 percent in the last two weeks of March.

It was the economy’s worst performance since 1945.

Such a GDP drop from one quarter to the next would be comparable only to the 5.3 percent recorded around the strikes of May 1968.

"You have to go back to the second quarter of 1968, hit by the May (political upheaval), to find a similar fall in activity," the Bank of France said.

The outlook for the rest of the year, the bank said, is souring significantly under the current circumstances.

For every two weeks the country is locked down, the central bank expects the economy to contract by 1.5 percent.

Among the worst affected sectors of the economy listed are construction, transport, restaurants and lodging.

In industry, the sharpest decline in activity has occurred in the automotive and machine-making sectors.

The current lockdown has been extended by two weeks to April 15.

The authorities, however, suggested this could be kept longer in place if the virus shows no sign of at least levelling off.

The number of people in France who have died from the coronavirus has now surpassed 10,000.

As of April 8, the outbreak of COVID-19 had spread to six continents, and approximately 82,100 people had died.