France will have trouble meeting a target to narrow its deficit to 2.7% in 2027, according to the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.
(Bloomberg) — France will have trouble meeting a target to narrow its deficit to 2.7% in 2027, according to the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.
The goal “will be a little difficult to reach” under the government’s current policies, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas said on France Inter radio Saturday. “More effort is necessary.”
President Emmanuel Macron’s government plans to reduce spending in the coming years, but the budget deficit isn’t forecast to drop below the European Union limit of 3% of gross domestic product until 2027.
The EU rules were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, and then again after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, giving governments more leeway for spending until the end of 2023.
In France, “the budget path that the government is planning is going in the right direction,” Gourinchas said. “It’s perhaps moving a little too slowly.”
The economist urged additional reforms to spur the nation’s growth, and said it’s much too early for major central banks to start lowering interest rates because inflation is still far from targets. He said that France’s financial situation isn’t worrying given that it has room to maneuver in its budget.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire expects next year’s deficit to be 4.4% as he seeks savings of €16 billion in the budget, which the government is working to get approved by lawmakers.
France dodged any rating or outlook change by Moody’s Investors Service on Friday, prompting Le Maire to post on X that maintaining the country’s sovereign rating “strengthens our willingness to lower debt and my determination to restore public finances.”
Fitch Ratings is due to review France’s rating Oct. 27, while S&P Global Ratings, which has a negative outlook on the country, is also coming up.
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