France is one of the major and most advanced European economies. As a founding member of the EU, and despite the effects of enlargement, France continues to be close to the centre of its decision-making process. As the EU expands, France will have opportunities to grow its export and trading relations. While the improving regional outlook may provide some upside potential, it may not be enough to spark a recovery in France’s manufacturing sector, unless the country addresses its competitiveness issues.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in France, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 20 of France’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert research teams. Our aim is to keep you ahead of the game, so you can operate with confidence in France.

Country Risk

France Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views:

  • French economic growth will lag the rest of the eurozone over the next two years as investment growth and external demand remain lacklustre. Meanwhile, meagre wage growth and high unemployment mean that household consumption - traditionally the key driver of the economy - will become less able to support growth.

  • France will experience a temporary terms of trade boost in 2016 and 2017 which will keep its trade deficit from expanding significantly. Beyond 2017 we expect the structural inefficiencies of the French economy to result in an expansion of its trade and current account deficits.

  • While France will benefit from a cyclical economic upswing in the eurozone, it is too early to tell if improving economic conditions will be enough to save President Francois Hollande from elimination in the first round of the presidential...

France Industry Coverage (29)

Agribusiness

France Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: Grains production will see limited growth over the next five years due to a high base from 2014/15 and only moderate increases in prices, while France also faces competition from other European producers on the export market. French dairy farmers will be among the EU's outperformers due to steady import demand for their cheese production. French meat production will suffer from continued weak demand from other EU countries, the traditional importers of French meat.

Key Forecasts

  • Wheat production growth 2014/15 to 2019/20: 3.9% to 40.5mn tonnes. Our forecasts indicate only...

Autos

France Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: Passenger cars will outperform CVs boosted by consumer borrowing and spending, while slow business investment improvements lead to slow CV purchase growth.

  • Bullish private consumption rates and bearish business investment will mean passenger cars outperform CVs.

Source: BMI
  • Light vehicle production will begin to recover following years of downsizing boosted by PSA and Renault investments.

  • Growing European demand for vans will boost LCV production.

  • ...

Commercial Banking

France Commercial Banking

BMI View:

...
Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Defence & Security

France Defence & Security

BMI View:

BMI View:   BMI 's France Defence & Security Report examines the current structure of the French armed forces. It evaluates ongoing defence reform initiatives and examines the position of France in NATO and its defence commitments around the world. In addition, it discusses the French defence industry and its performance both in home and international markets.

Regarding defence spending we expect France to spend USD53bn on defence in 2014. We believe that France will spend an average of USD51bn on defence between 2015 and 2019 with the defence budget increasing to USD52.8 by 2019.

In terms of defence exports, official figures published during Q414 noted that the value of French military exports had increasing by up to 42% in 2013, compared to 2012. French military operations have been said to have been very helpful as a '...

Food & Drink

France Food & Drink

BMI View:

BMI View: Our consumer outlook for France is brightening as economic activity returns to growth, though weak, following several years of recession. The easing of deflationary pressures is another positive dynamic, especially for mass grocery retailers. Nonetheless, with household incomes - especially in the lower and middle classes - remaining under pressure and high existing levels of food consumption, we forecast only tepid growth in the sector over the next five years. Food and drink categories that are perceived as healthy and/or convenient will outperform.

Headline Industry Data (local currency)

  • 2015 food consumption (local currency) growth = +1.6%; compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2014 to 2019 = +1.6%.

  • 2015 alcoholic drink sales (local currency) growth= +0.4%; CAGR 2014 to 2019 = +0.9%.

    ...

Freight Transport

France Freight Transport

BMI View:

BMI View: The French freight transport sector will experience tepid growth over 2015, with rail and air set to outperform road freight in terms of tonnage growth. Nevertheless, road will continue to dominate the freight mix over 2016, with over 95.5% of the total market share, followed by rail freight carrying 4.4% of total freight. We do not anticipate major changes to the freight mix through our forecast period to 2020 given the dominance of the road network, though significant investment in rail freight could increase the sector's market share in the longer term.

The French economy will grow by 1.4% in real terms in 2016, up from 1.1% in 2015. Private consumption will continue to be the main driver of growth though the structural impediments to a significant uptick in French activity remain. Since 2012-2013, there...

Information Technology

France Information Technology

BMI View:

BMI View: We continue to anticipate a moderately positive growth trajectory for France's IT sector in 2016. This follows the decision to downgrade our forecast for 2015 in our Q415 report. We predict that, in 2016, the IT market as a whole will grow by 1.4% in local currency terms to reach a total value of EUR53.27bn. Growth in dollar terms will be slower due to currency volatility and the strength of the US dollar. We expect the market will contract by 1.4% in dollar terms to reach a total value of USD56.99bn. This forecast does not change our core view of France as a mature IT market with lucrative markets for advanced IT products and solutions, as well as a leading ecosystem of local firms - especially in the software and services segments. We identify a number of specific...

Infrastructure

France Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View : The construction industry should return to growth in 2016, with 0.74% real growth after years of strong contraction. Nevertheless, growth will remain weak over the next few years as a weak domestic economic environment and ongoing policy and regulatory uncertainty are undermining investor confidence and we expect to see limited gains in terms of fixed capital formation.

Latest Updates And Structural Trends

  • Weaknesses in France's labour market - in terms of unemployment and lack of competitiveness - support our modest outlook over the country's construction industry.

  • The outlook for the housing market remains bleak as economic uncertainty and stubborn unemployment rates prevent a recovery...

Insurance

France Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: France is home to one of the largest insurance markets globally, with both life and non-life insurance benefiting from strong rates of penetration and density. As a mature market, growth prospects are relatively limited. Competition is intense, particularly in key non-life lines such as motor insurance, which places significant downwards pressure on pricing and as a result some lines will struggle to achieve growth over the forecast period. The leading insurance providers are, however, proven innovators and the strengthening of the product offering in the market will allow some growth to be achieved. The gradual expected improvements in household income rates and unemployment rates will also stimulate some growth moving forward.

...
Headline Insurance Forecasts (France 2013-2020)

Medical Devices

France Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI Industry View : France will remain the fifth largest market in the world despite only seeing low single-digit US dollar growth in 2016. Further cost containment measures to control spending on medical devices will limit underlying growth in the market, which is primarily driven by the rising healthcare needs of the aging population and the need to keep pace with new technology.

Projected Medical Device Market, 2014-2019
Total (USDmn) Per Capita (USD) Total (Locall Currency mn) ...

Metals

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Tin prices will be capped by US dollar strength in 2016, leading us to trim our price forecast to USD14,500/tonne. Beyond 2016, prices will recover gradually as the global tin market posts sustained market deficits and inventories dwindle.

...
Global - Tin Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI view: We have revised our aluminium price forecast from USD1,575/tonne to USD1,600/tonne in 2016, as the tightening market provided an earlier than expected floor in Q116. Aluminium prices will gradually edge higher as the global market moves into a deficit by 2018.

...
Global - Aluminium Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Globally, iron ore prices will remain subdued due to weak demand growth in China and expanding output by major miners in Australia and Brazil. China will see output slow as the country's iron ore miners operate on the higher end of the global iron ore cost curve.

...
Global Iron Ore Forecast
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Nickel prices will bottom in 2016 as weak production drags the global market into deficit. For instance, we expect Chinese imports of nickel to grow over the coming quarters. Prices will begin 2016 weaker than we had previously expected and we have thus revised down our 2016 average price forecast to USD9,000/tonne from USD10,500/tonne.

...
Global Nickel Forecasts
2013 2014 2015e

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We have revised down our average copper price forecast for 2016 to USD4,900/tonne. We expect prices to find a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, supported by production cuts and modest consumption growth.

Global - Copper Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f ...

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Gold prices will prove resilient in 2016 due to a dovish shift in global monetary policy and elevated systemic financial sector risks. However, we do not foresee a sustained multi-year recovery and the mining sector will thus remain under significant stress. We forecast slowing mine production growth and increasing consolidation.

BMI Gold Forecasts
2014 2015 2016f 2017f ...

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Global steel prices will remain subdued due to a persistent steel oversupply over the coming quarters. From 2017 onwards, steel prices will gradually edge higher as the global steel surplus will narrow due to Chinese supply moderation.

Steel Price Forecast
2014 2015 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f...

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We maintain our average zinc price forecast for 2016 of USD1,750/tonne. We expect zinc prices to reach a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, as production cuts shift the market to a deficit.

...
Global - Zinc Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f

France Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Lead prices will gradually edge higher as the global lead market will shift into deficit by 2017 as production growth will slow over the coming years.

...
BMI Lead Price Forecast
Current* 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f 2020f

Oil & Gas

France Oil & Gas

BMI View:

BMI View: The overall level of investment in exploration and production in France remains weak and this trend is unlikely to alter significantly without an end to political opposition to exploration of shale oil and gas resources. Plans to begin production of gas from coal bed methane by 2017 could provide a much-needed boost to domestic output, but uncertainty over the project continues. Though downstream margins have benefited from cheaper oil prices, the long-term outlook for the refining sector in France, and in Europe more widely, remains largely pessimistic.

Headline Forecasts (France 2013-2019)
2013e 2014e ...

Petrochemicals

France Petrochemicals

BMI View:

The fundamentals of the French petrochemicals market are mixed. The decline in France's industrial competitiveness over the last ten years is a fundamental issue facing the country. However, domestic automotive producers have made significant steps to improve their competitiveness, which should help assist with bolstering demand in engineering plastics.

France's petrochemicals industry has undergone a process of structural adjustment to improve cost margins. However, it has been behind the curve compared to other Western European states that have seen consolidation and capacity reductions in recent years. Resistance from labour unions has largely been responsible for the slow process of dealing with the sector's lack of integration and poor economies of scale. However, delocalisation is inevitable for the petrochemicals industry, just as it is across the industrial sector.

The planned closure of...

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

France Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Improving consumer and business indices for the French economy will continue to pose upside risks to the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector's ongoing recovery in terms of growth rates. However, supply side factors will continue to weigh negatively on fixed investment rates in the pharmaceutical industry, as labour market structural deficiencies are not expected to recede in the foreseeable future. More broadly, as pharmaceutical firms seek to increase productivity in a short time frame whilst capping costs, we will likely continue to observe some degree of...

Power

France Power

BMI View:

BMI View: France has a well-developed and extensive domestic power network, including multiple interconnections with neighbouring states and robust generation and capacity. Consumption is expected to show only slow growth over our 10-year forecast period and there is little appetite for significant investment in new power infrastructure, though government renewable energy targets will drive robust growth in terms of wind, solar and geothermal power. Despite the expected growth in renewable energy, the domestic energy mix in France will remain dominated by EDF's nuclear power plants which will account for the majority of generation for much of the forecast period until government plans to...

Real Estate

France Real Estate

BMI View:

BMI View : Our long-term outlook for the French commercial real estate market is optimistic. However, in the short term weak economic growth and faltering investor sentiment will limit development and demand in the sector.

We forecast real GDP growth of 1.4% in 2016 as the economy faces the challenges of a struggling eurozone and slowing global demand. Rising consumer confidence and increased business investment will boost demand and activity across the commercial real estate spectrum in the medium-to-long term. However, in the short term the market will continue to be affected by high unemployment and limited business appetite for expansion.

Over 2016 commercial real estate rents should remain stable in US dollar terms, increasing slightly in euro terms. There will be moderate demand and limited supply across all three sub-sectors we cover (office,...

Renewables

France Renewables

BMI View:

BMI View: The passing of the energy transition bill and adoption of ambitious non-hydropower renewables generating capacity deployment targets will improve regulatory clarity in the French renewables sector, supporting France to become one of our European renewables outperformers over the coming decade. A cap on nuclear capacity coupled with the decline in thermal power generation will mean that renewables will be integral to maintaining robust electricity export volumes.

Renewables Headline Forecasts (France 2015-2021)
2015e 2016f 2017f ...

Retail

France Retail

BMI View:

BMI View: The French economy will continue to gradually recover, with a GDP growth forecast for 2016 of 1.4%, which is beginning to improve in performance in the context of the broader EU. Retailers will continue to be attracted to the countries large, expanding, highly urbanised and developed retail market, that has the added advantage of servicing a large foreign tourist market. The positive attributes, however, will have a modest effect...

Telecommunications

France Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: The widening stage brought forward by Free's entry into the mobile market in 2012 is drawing to a close, with operators looking at deepening and upselling new services. All four operators have the advantage of being fully convergent, giving them a head-start to offer multiple services to single accounts. But other drivers also include M2M and the IoT, with Orange taking a lead in the segment, and leveraging its success to gain more net additions than its rivals. SFR will compete on quad-play and content, Bouygues on providing cheaper fixed broadband and advanced LTE, while Free will continue to offer pricing pressure through the launch of innovative services.

France has four fully converged operators offering fixed and mobile services to customers in the market. As it becomes saturated, operators will look to expend their premium services offers, as a way to...

Tourism

France Tourism

BMI View:

BMI View: The French tourism market is one of the largest in the world, welcoming a huge volume of international visitors and benefiting from a well established domestic travel market. While growth has slowed in recent years, the number of international visitors to France is expected to continue to rise throughout our forecast period through to 2019 which in turn will provide a valuable boost to tourism related spending and hotel industry value - cementing tourism's position as a major contributor to the French domestic economy. The country is well placed to keep up with the expected increase in demand, being home to an extensive domestic transport network with excellent international travel connections and one of the most developed hotel and accommodation markets globally.

...
Key Forecasts (France 2012-2019)

Water

France Water

BMI View:

France's water sector has seen many positive changes in recent years, especially as the government has striven to attain the high standards of quality and practice laid down by the EU. Developments to the infrastructure and technology of the sector have resulted in an efficient and productive industry, which in turn is governed by strong and clear regulations. The improvements, however, are ongoing. With much work still needed and projects continuing to be initiated, the sector is currently very favourable for investors - a fact that is backed up by favourable legislature and an openness to outside input.

The increase in developments and construction projects throughout the water sector, has led to demand for an increased workforce, alongside the introduction of highly skilled tradespeople. To meet this demand the French government is encouraging investment from both French companies and foreign ones. With a surge in the quality of workers,...

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