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France: Economy

Economy France
Economy - overview:
France is in the midst of transition, from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The Socialist-led government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, but still retains controlling stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and remains dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The current government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment. At the end of 2002 the government was focusing on the problems of the high cost of labor and labor market inflexibility resulting from the 35-hour workweek and restrictions on lay-offs. The government was also pushing for pension reforms and simplification of administrative procedures. The tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe. The current economic slowdown and inflexible budget items have pushed the deficit above the EU's 3% debt limit. Business investment remains listless because of low rates of capital utilization, high debt, and the steep cost of capital.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $1.558 trillion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $26,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 26%
services: 71% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
6.4% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 25.1% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
32.7 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
26.6 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 71%, industry 25%, agriculture 4% (1997)
Unemployment rate:
9.1% (2002 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $286 billion
expenditures: $330 billion, including capital expenditures of $23 billion (2002 est.)
Industries:
machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
-0.3% (2002)
Electricity - production:
520.1 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 8.2%
hydro: 14%
other: 0.7% (2001)
nuclear: 77.1%
Electricity - consumption:
415.3 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
72.6 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
4.2 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
34,920 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
2.026 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
409,600 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
2.281 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
144.3 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
1.898 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
42.01 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
1.725 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
40.26 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
12.86 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
Exports:
$307.8 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
Exports - partners:
Germany 15%, UK 9.8%, Spain 9%, Italy 9%, US 7.8%, Belgium 6.9% (2002)
Imports:
$303.7 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Germany 19.4%, Belgium 9.2%, Italy 8.8%, UK 7.3%, Netherlands 7%, US 6.8%, Spain 6.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
NA (1998)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $6.3 billion (1997)
Currency:
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code:
EUR
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 1.06 (2002), 1.12 (2001), 1.09 (2000), 0.94 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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