France: Exports held the line

2 min
Stéphane Colliac
Stéphane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa


Exports of goods registered steady growth in 2018 (+18.2bn EUR, after +20.5bn in 2017). The EU accounted for +12.3bn EUR, but the U.S. (+4.4bn) and China (+2bn) were the two top country gains. Transport equipment (+2.3bn, mainly boats) and chemicals (+1.2bn, mainly pharmaceuticals) were the two top sectors towards the U.S., and transport equipment (aeronautics) posted the most gains towards China. In Europe, the main gains came from Spain (+1.9bn), Belgium (+1.8bn) and Germany (+1.6bn), but Italy disappointed (rank 8 with gains of +1bn, after rank 1 in 2017 with +2.9bn). Looking at France’s top 10 export markets, transport equipment gained the most (+5.4bn EUR), ahead of chemicals (+2.9 bn) while the main disappointment was agrifood (+0.4bn) a sector also affected by stalling domestic turn­over. The number of exporting firms was quite stable in 2018 (125k, +1.2%) but with less new ex­port­ers (+22%, vs. +30% ten years ago). Overall, there was more stability in 2018’s export gains (level, desti­nations, exporters) but also more concentration (stability or losses outside the EU, US and China).