The IMF Country Reports Series covers economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with officials of the country, is published at the option of the member.
This Selected Issues paper examines external developments and competitiveness in France. Over the past decade, the current account has deteriorated from a surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP in 2002 to a deficit of about 2.3 percent in 2012, as France lost ground in goods trade and services recorded just a slight increase in global market shares. The slight improvement of the trade deficit seen in 2012 may suggest a change in trend, although it is still too early to determine. Past deterioration in export performance points to competitiveness weaknesses, rooted in significant rigidities in labor and product markets.