France records fastest growth in 52 years; German economy shrinks; US consumer confidence sinks – business live

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France has posted its strongest growth in over 50 years, as the economy recovered from the economic shock of the pandemic.

French GDP expanded by 7% last year, data just released shows – the strongest annual expansion since 1969, as the economy showed resilience in the face of supply chain disruption.

It follows an 8% contraction in 2020 as lockdowns and restrictions to fight Covid-19 drove the economy into deep recession.

© Provided by The Guardian
French annual growth up to 2020 Photograph: World Bank

The strongest boom in a generation is a boost to Emmanuel Macron’s economic credentials, ahead of April’s presidential election in which he is widely expected to run for a second term.

Related: French election polls: who is leading the race to be the next president of France?

France’s economy grew by 0.7% in the last quarter, faster than expected, but slower than the 3.1% growth in July-September as the latest wave of infections hit Europe last autumn.

Consumers helped the recovery, with household spending rising by 0.4% in the quarter following the relaxation of restrictions earlier in 2021.

Business investment, or gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), expanded by 0.5%, mainly lifted by spending on IT services

Statistics body INSEE says France’s economy has now expanded ‘significantly’ past its pre-crisis levels, having returned to its pre-pandemic level of gross domestic product in Q3.

After returning to its pre-crisis level in the previous quarter (+0.2% compared to Q4 2019), GDP exceeded it significantly in Q4 (+0.9% compared to Q4 2019).

French GDP Photograph: INSEE

© Provided by The Guardian
French GDP Photograph: INSEE

Growth data from Spain and Germany are also due this morning, showing how some of Europe’s largest countries fared in Q4.

We already know the US finished last year strongly. Data yesterday showed America’s economy expanded by 1.7% during the last quarter (or 6.9% annualised).

US GDP expanded by 5.7% during 2021 — the best growth annual growth since 1984, lifted by government and central bank stimulus and vaccine rollouts.

Related: Markets rebound as US economy records fastest growth since 1984 – as it happened

The agenda

  • 6.30am GMT: French Q4 GDP report
  • 7am GMT: Swedish Q4 GDP report
  • 8am GMT: Spain’s Q4 GDP report
  • 9am GMT: Germany’s Q4 GDP report
  • 10am GMT: Eurozone consumer and economic sentiment report
  • 1.30pm GMT: US PCE index of personal consumption price rises
  • 3pm GMT: University of Michigan’s index of US consumer confidence

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