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France imports a lot of goods. Result: the trade deficit plunges to a record level. Figures from last November show that the balance between the country’s imports and exports has widened further.
It is “ lowest monthly balance ever “, Indicate this Friday the Customs in their monthly report. In November, imports into France exploded. Weighted down by rising commodity prices, they reached a record level.
Several explanations for this. The energy bill is much higher than usual. France, traditionally an exporter of electricity, was a net importer in November, with national production not sufficient to meet strong demand. There was one “ unusual peak of electricity imports “, Note the French customs, as well as a” growth in the supply of gas and oil “.
Rising commodity prices
Added to this are the rising prices of other raw materials and industrial products. In these mountains of imports, one finds a great number of manufactured products. The amount of imports thus reached ” the historical sum “52.5 billion euros in November, with a jump of 20.1% in value.
At the same time, exports are also increasing, but at a slower pace of 400 million euros on average per month since the start of the year, to settle in November at 43.5 billion euros, almost at the level from the April 2019 peak.
Supply problems in the automobile production and transport equipment sectors, which are traditionally quicker to generate a slight trade surplus, weighed on exports.
The Covid crisis has affected two strong links in French foreign trade: aeronautics for goods, and travel for services, according to the Center for Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII).
France’s competitiveness deficit
But beyond these elements which amplify the movement, France’s trade deficit has been widening since the early 2000s.
This reflects a lack of competitiveness in France in sectors such as the automobile, textiles and clothing or electronic products. There is a relative decline in French exports, compared to what can be observed in the euro zone as a whole.
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A situation “ unacceptable »For the High Commissioner for Planning François Bayrou. According to him, this testifies to the “ downgrading »French industrialist. “ In 2000, France was ahead of Germany. Today, on average, France has a deficit of between 75 and 90 billion foreign trade and Germany between 200 and 250 billion of surplus. », François Bayrou recalled on Thursday before a Senate committee. ” This interval, which is a defeat, cannot be reduced He lamented.
At the beginning of December, the High Commission for Planning had pleaded for the return to France of the production of certain goods now imported in order to reduce the trade deficit. The High Planning Commission has thus drawn up a list of 50 products for which it wants to initiate discussions with the sectors concerned.
This Friday, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire indicated that he wanted during the next five-year term to continue lowering production taxes as well as charges on wages above 2.5 smic in order to reindustrialize France, criticizing a ” industrial desertion for 30 years For which he made responsible successive governments, but also the captains of French industry who have relocated massively abroad.
Figures for all of 2021 are expected in early February.