The French economy will expand by 5% in 2021, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a newspaper interview, as a third lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a downward revision in the previous government forecast for 6% growth.
The new forecast was prudent, Le Maire said in comments published on Sunday in Le Journal Du Dimanche (JDD).
“Our fundamentals are sound; we will be able to bounce back,” Le Maire said. French schools and non-essential stores such as clothing chains will now be shut for four weeks, after COVID-19 cases surged in recent weeks, edging up the number of patients in intensive care units.
Bars and restaurants have already been closed for months, while tourist travel is at a standstill, although unlike when France entered its first national lockdown a year ago, construction work and manufacturing are among business areas still ticking over.