French economy shows strong growth with reopening of tourism and leisure

The beach at Biarritz with summer tourists
A nearly normal summer for tourism helped boost the French economy. Photo: Gaizka Iroz/AFP
The French economy expanded strongly again in the third quarter, powered by a sharp increase in household spending and the reopening of key sectors from lockdowns, official data showed on Friday.

France’s gross domestic product expanded by 3 percent in the period from July through September compared with preceding three months, a sharp acceleration from growth of 1.3 percent in the second quarter, the national statistics agency INSEE calculated.

The latest GDP data were “above our expectations,” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told AFP, saying the numbers was an “exceptional result”.

The data also beat INSEE’s own expectations, which had been pencilling in growth of 2.7 percent for the third quarter in its previous forecast in September.

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Household spending jumped by five percent as key tourism and leisure sectors reopened, the statisticians said.

Exports were up by 2.3 percent, while imports were more or less stable, falling slightly by 0.1 percent.

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