In France, buying energy is holding up higher than in Europe, however is poorly distributed | EUROtoday

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It is a paradox that surprises economists, notably those that observe France from overseas. Statistically, the nation has resisted the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation quite higher than its European neighbors, however social anger appears deeper there. Purchasing energy, after redistribution of social help and adjusted for inflation, has elevated by 6.6% in France for the reason that finish of 2019, in keeping with calculations by the agency Oxford Economics.

Read the decryption | Article reserved for our subscribers Inflation is stabilizing however its results persist, particularly with a pointy decline in consumption

In comparability, Germany (0%), Italy (1.7%), the United Kingdom (3.7%) and Spain (5%) all carried out much less properly over the identical interval. “If the election was purely about the economy, Emmanuel Macron would do much bettersays economist Daniel Kral, who carried out these calculations. Without government intervention, the French would have been much poorer. »

Problem: these data are misleading, replies Mathieu Plane, economist and deputy director of the French Observatory of Economic Conditions (OFCE). “From a macroeconomic point of view, purchasing power actually continued to increase over the period, much during the pandemic, before virtual stagnation in 2022 and 2023. But these data cover very different realities depending on the person. . » In particular, employees who live in peri-urban and rural areas, and who already had a job before the pandemic, have objectively lost a lot of purchasing power.

Inflation shock

To explain this paradox, we must delve into the depths of recent statistics. The first level of analysis concerns inflation. This increased by 2.1% over twelve months in June, according to data published by INSEE on Friday June 28. The rate, down slightly after 2.3% in May, confirms that the surge in prices has now calmed down. In total, since January 2021, taking European data harmonized by Eurostat, prices have increased in France by 17%, which is the second lowest increase in the euro zone, ahead of Finland. Spain (19%), Italy (20%) and Germany (21%) were all slightly more affected by the phenomenon.

The intervention of the French government during the recent crises helped to soften the shock, in particular with the tariff shield on energy (which is being gradually withdrawn). “This policy made it possible to reduce second-round effects”explains Mr. Kral. Understand: having been (slightly) much less violently affected by the rise in payments, firms have had much less must go on their costs upwards.

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