The government, due to present a series of further support measures shortly, will base them “on a growth forecast of minus one percent, that is to say negative growth,” Le Maire told RTL radio on Tuesday morning.
The forecast was “provisional,” Le Maire said, as he described the coronavirus as “a disaster for all countries, for the G7 and for France,” which would “also lead to recession in the eurozone.”
It was a “economic and financial war” that will last some time, Le Maire said. “It will be lengthy, it will be violent.. this war will require us to mobilise all our forces.”
Le Maire's announcement came the morning after President Emmanuel Macron's second public coronavirus speech in less than a week, where the president promised to protect French businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
Many businesses, especially airlines, have already been hard hit by the financial repercussions of the coronavirus.
Air France has said it will cut capacity between 70 and 90 percent over next two months.
But the new lockdown will have widespread negative economic impact on all businesses, and on the national economy as a whole.
The 'partial unemployment' scheme has also been greatly enlarged so that anyone not able to work because of the crisis can claim benefits, while still having their job held open for them when things return to normal. Employers are barred from firing employees during this period.
“Taking into account the significant losses in recent days on the financial markets, the Financial Markets Authority has decided to take an urgent step,” it said in a statement.
The ban order covers mostly bank and financial stocks.
Investors use short-selling to bet the market will fall, putting tremendous downward pressure on prices at a time when buy interest is virtually non-existent.