İrem UZUN -TDO- The French economy is expected to contract eight percent this year, reflecting the impact of an extended coronavirus lockdown until May 11, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday. Le Maire had previously targeted a six percent GDP decline for this year, but that was based on a lockdown that lasted just one month, instead of the two-month period announced by President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address Monday night.
The budget deficit will also balloon to around 9 percent of GDP, as the government pumps €100 billion into its economic rescue plan. "Each day, each week of confinement... is worsening our public finances," he said, adding that France's debt pile would soar to 115 percent of GDP. These latest forecasts come after President Emmanuel Macron announced some French shops and businesses would be allowed to re-open after May 11, but bars, restaurants and hotels would remain closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. In his televised address, the French president also called for a massive cancellation of African debt to help financial efforts to combat the virus there.