While France recorded a historic drop in its GDP in the second quarter, all eyes are on households. If the latter were to consume with the savings made during confinement, the crisis could be less important, according to Matthieu Plane, economist at the OFCE.

On Friday, INSEE announced a historic plunge in GDP of 13.8% in the second quarter. Household consumption fell by 11%, investments by 17.8%, exports by 25.5%. Since it measures French economic activity on a quarterly basis, the National Institute of Statistics has never recorded such a collapse. It also revised its measure of activity in the first quarter, which fell 5.9%, down from the 5.3% previously reported. After a major health crisis, France is therefore entering a recession. To get out of this there is a solution: revive household consumption.

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With the uncertainty of social difficulties, households will tend to save

Although it plunged 11% in the second quarter, it resumed in May, in the wake of deconfinement (+ 36%). However, most of these purchases appear to be "catching up". The whole stake will be to see if the forced savings that the French have accumulated during confinement will or will not return to the consumption circuit. But to believe the experts, this is not so sure ...

"There is such uncertainty over the start of the school year, including the management of the health crisis, that households spontaneously risk saving in the face of future social difficulties such as layoffs and plans that are announced in companies", explains Matthieu Plane, economist at OFCE. Yet it is this savings that could be decisive, according to the economist. "We see that between the scenario where we have a complete reinjection of this savings and the one where we keep this money as 'precautionary savings', we have almost a crisis which is halved," he said. microphone from Europe 1. 

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The equivalent of 75 billion euros

A crisis that could be halved because the sums involved are anything but anecdotal. The forced savings that households have accumulated during the twelve weeks of confinement amounts to 75 billion euros! Compare, for example, to the 100 billion euros that the government wants to inject into its recovery plan ...