The French economy should regain color this year.
Not necessarily from the first quarter, since the restrictive measures - administrative closures of cafes and restaurants, curfews, confinement on weekends ... - weigh heavily on activity.
But according to estimates from the Bureau of Economic Information and Forecasts (Bipe) that we are unveiling, the much-hoped-for rebound should arrive "in April or May, if the restrictive measures are largely lifted at the end of March", estimates Anne-Sophie Alsif, the chief economist of Bipe.
“At that time, the vaccination campaign will also begin to have a health impact in France.
It will also affect household confidence, which is essential for consumption.
The study by the strategy consulting firm is based on an increase in growth of 5.4% in 2021. This is a little more than the 5% forecast by the Banque de France and a little less than the 6% announced by the government (Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, has recognized in recent days that this forecast could be difficult to achieve).
"We have averaged the forecasts of around twenty public bodies, banks, national or international institutions," explains Anne-Sophie Alsif.
After that, we do not yet have an end date for the curfew and some restrictive measures may be maintained: things can still evolve.
Political decisions will have a direct impact on the development of economic activity.
But that's a reasonable growth forecast.
VIDEO. Bruno Le Maire: "Two years for France to regain its 2019 economic level"
Bruno Le Maire: "Two years for France to regain its 2019 economic level"
A strong rebound expected from April
According to the chief economist, a "vigorous rebound" will occur in the second quarter before, perhaps, a strong recovery but a little less in the third quarter "if the government maintains restrictive measures, especially during the summer vacation.
Finally, the last quarter should also be very vigorous, like the second.
But not all sectors will benefit in the same way.
“It's still early days to talk about winners,” she continues.
But some will resist more despite the end of aid and will really benefit from the rebound.
"Among them, those who have already been doing well for months: health, agrifood, financial and insurance activities ...
DIY, gardening, toys ... these businesses that have been successful
But the industry should also rebound considerably in the coming months.
"In France, factories were closed during the first confinement," says Anne-Sophie Alsif.
This considerably slowed down their activity.
In 2021, household consumption of manufactured goods will allow production to return to its pre-crisis level.
Culture, tourism, retail and services are also expected to recover quickly with the lifting of restrictions.
The air and the automobile will have to wait
But other sectors should still stick their tongue out in 2021 before a possible breath of fresh air in 2022. “French companies risk being penalized by their positioning,” estimates the BIPE study.
In the air sector, for example, forecasts envisage a recovery in traffic to 60% this summer and 70% at the start of the school year.
But if the low-cost airlines should benefit greatly from this recovery, it is not certain that Air France's pro-business positioning will benefit so quickly.
Newsletter It pays me
The newsletter that improves your purchasing power
Subscribe to the newsletterAll newsletters
The same goes for the automobile where state aid for the purchase of an electric vehicle has supported - better than in our European neighbors - car sales.
“However, the two French manufacturers are still poorly positioned on hybrid and electric vehicles, which penalizes their recovery in the short term.
Covid-19 crisis: how political choices have influenced the French economy
The great unknown?
The scale of the wave of companies shutting down this year.
The hotel and catering industry could be severely affected in the second quarter.
“So far, this sector has been very helped, but State Guaranteed Loans (PGE) have sometimes been widely used and the support to pay fixed charges may be insufficient, describes Anne-Sophie Alsif.
According to the figures, the failures of independent restaurants could reach between 30 and 70%.
We will have to scrutinize these failures and see if, a few months later, in the last quarter for example, many restaurant openings are recorded.