French finance minister: consumers to absorb “contained rise” in energy prices

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PARIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) – All French consumers will be protected by forthcoming caps on energy prices, Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday but he added that households will need to absorb a “small part” of the increased costs themselves.

Current caps on power prices and a gas price freeze worth a combined 16.5 billion euros ($16.8 billion) are set to run out this winter but the French government had previously said it intended to extend existing policies to help households cope with higher energy costs.

Le Maire told LCI television the government will present details on the policy, which will include “a contained rise” in gas and power prices for households, in the coming days.

The French government has aggressively sought to protect consumers from the inflation burden by spending billions on a bundle of measures which also include a special rebate on pump tariffs until the end of this year.

The finance ministry currently expects the cost of measures between 2021 and 2023 to come to 67 billion euros, equivalent to 2.7% of gross domestic product.

Due to the measures, French inflation has consistently come in lower than all other euro zone countries apart from Malta.

($1 = 0.9824 euros)

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; additional reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Silvia Aloisi and Edwina Gibbs)

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