France’s gross domestic product contracted 5.8 percent in the first quarter and is officially in a recession, mainly because of the coronavirus lockdown imposed since mid-March, the national statistics agency said Thursday.
The drop is the biggest since quarterly GDP evaluations began in 1949, exceeding the third quarter 1.6 percent drop in 2009 and the 5.3 percent contraction in the second quarter of 1968, the agency said.
Following the 0.1 percent French GDP fall in the last quarter of 2019, the result confirms that France is in a recession.
The drop in activity “is mainly linked to the stop in non-essential activities as part of the lockdown imposed from mid-March”, the agency said.
The evaluation falls in line with that of France’s central bank, which in early April estimated a contraction of around six percent in the first quarter.