French construction sector may shrink 9.4% in 2020

The French construction industry is likely to contract by 9.4% in 2020, according to analytics firm GlobalData.

Although French sites have been allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic, a fall in private-sector demand and lower government spending, particularly on infrastructure projects, is likely to lead to a sharp contraction in output by the end of the year.

Some firms halted work despite their exemption from the lockdown, leading to a public row between the government and industry leaders. Vinci, the largest construction group in France, stopped many activities between March and early April, and the company warned this would lead to a decline in revenue.

Danny Richards, lead economist at GlobalData, commented: "Construction activities have been disrupted due to the stringent measures taken by the government to contain the spread of the virus. Reflecting the disruptions, the French construction industry’s growth fell 14.1% in the first quarter of 2020."  

He added that the residential sector, the industry’s largest market, had been expected to weaken before the Covid-19 crisis. Demand for housing is now expected to slow significantly as employment and incomes continue to be affected by the virus.  

Image: Traffic on French autoroutes has fallen rapidly since the advent of Covid-19 (Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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