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France: Staff Report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation—Informational Annex

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Published Date:
August 2013
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Fund Relations

(As of May 31, 2013)

Membership Status: Joined December 27, 1945; Article VIII.

General Resources Account:

SDR MillionPercent of Quota
Quota10,738.50100.00
Fund Holding of Currency (Exchange Rate)7,504.5969.88
Reserve Tranche Position3,234.0930.12
Lending to the Fund
New Arrangements to Borrow2,321.62

SDR Department:

SDR MillionPercent of Allocation
Net Cumulative Allocation10,134.20100.00
Holdings9,418.0492.93

Outstanding Purchases and Loans: None

Latest Financial Arrangements: None

Projected Payments to Fund (SDR million; based on existing use of resources and present holdings of SDRs):

Forthcoming
20132014201520162017
Principal
Charges/Interest0.220.490.490.490.49
Total0.220.490.490.490.49

Implementation of HIPC Initiative: Not applicable

Implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI): Not applicable

Implementation of Post-Catastrophe Debt Relief (PCDR): Not applicable

Exchange Rate Arrangements:

  • France’s currency is the euro, which floats freely and independently against other currencies.

  • France maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions, except for exchange restrictions imposed solely for the preservation of international security. These restrictions involving certain individuals and entities and which target specified countries have been notified to the Fund pursuant to Executive Board Decision No. 144-(52/51). In accordance with the relevant EU regulations and UNSC resolutions, certain restrictions are maintained on the making of payments and transfers for current or military international transactions with respect to Belarus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the former government of Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Guinea (republic of), Guinea Bissao, the former Government of Liberia, the former Government of Libya, Myanmar, the former Government of Tunisia, Transnistria (the independentist region of Moldova), Eritrea, the former Government of Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Syria, certain individuals associated with the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and Zimbabwe.

  • Measures have been taken to freeze accounts of listed persons and entities linked to terrorists pursuant to the relevant EU regulations (n°881/2002, n°2580/2001 and n°753/2011) and UN Security Council resolutions (resolutions 1267 and 1373 and subsequent resolutions).

Article IV Consultation:

The last Article IV consultation was concluded on December 20, 2012. The associated Executive Board assessment is available at http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2012/pn12146.htm and the staff report at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr12342.pdf. France is on the standard 12-month consultation cycle.

FSAP Participation and ROSC:

France–Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC): Module I–Fiscal TransparencyOctober 17, 2000
Fiscal Transparency—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 01/196, 11/05/01
Fiscal Transparency—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 04/345, 11/03/04

Summary: The report found that France has achieved a high level of fiscal transparency and has introduced a number of improvements in coverage and presentation of fiscal information. Notable areas of progress include the development in the final accounts publication to include more complete information on government assets and liabilities as well as disclosure of contingent liabilities. Accounting standards have been changed to reflect accruals principles in a number of areas, and these standards are clearly explained. The staff suggested that further steps could be taken to identify and report quasi-fiscal activities in the budget presentation, provide a more consolidated picture of fiscal activity outside the appropriation process, and improve the reconciliation of stated policies with outcomes at the general government level.

These issues have been addressed in the Loi organique aux lois de finance (LOLF), which has become fully effective on January 1, 2006. In addition to the annual appropriations, the first multi-annual fiscal framework law was adopted in January 2009, and contains fiscal objectives for the period 2009–12. The budget is organized along missions and provides details on the level of appropriations for each mission and performance indicators by which the expected results of the mission will be assessed ex post. The State Audit Office has been given the new assignment of certifying the public accounts, and implementation of accruals basis accounting has been confirmed. Parliamentary oversight powers have been strengthened.

France–Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC): Module II–Transparency in Monetary and Financial PoliciesOctober 2000, corrected:

2/15/01
Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 01/197, 11/05/01
Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 02/248, 11/13/02

Summary: The 2000 ROSC noticed that transparency of financial policies is accorded a high priority by all financial agencies assessed, and they are in observance of the good practices of the Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies. The major agencies disclose their objectives, their legal and institutional frameworks, and have open processes of policymaking and regulation. The principles of transparency are observed by dissemination of relevant information to the public and in the agencies’ arrangements for internal conduct, integrity, and accountability. However, the staff noted that the framework for supervision and regulation applicable to mutual insurance firms is not as well defined and suggested to improve its transparency. The transparency of monetary policy was not assessed by the Fund team as the Banque de France is a member of the European System of Central Banks and no longer conducts independent monetary policy.

Subsequently, the framework for supervision and regulation applicable to a specific group of mutual insurance firms was modified in a number of steps. In August 2003, legislation created a single supervisory body, the Commission de Contrôle des Assurances, Mutuelles et Institutions de Prévoyance (CCAMIP) by merging the regular insurance supervisor (CCA) and mutualities’ supervisor (CCMIP). Coordination with the banking sector supervisors was strengthened and the powers of the supervisory authorities extended.

France–Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC): Data ModuleIMF Country Report

No. 03/339, 10/2903
Data Module—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 04/345, 11/03/04
Data Module—UpdateIMF Country Report

No. 05/398, 11/07/05

Summary: The report found that France is in observance of the Fund’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). In particular, the mandate of INSEE and the Banque de France for the production of the six macroeconomic datasets is clearly defined, with the reporting burden and the confidentiality provisions given special consideration notably through the CNIS. Professionalism is central to the statistical operations of the two institutions, internationally and/or European accepted methodologies are generally followed, the degree of accuracy and reliability of the six datasets is remarkable, statistics are relevant and provided on a timely basis, and they are accessible to the public.

The report made a number of suggestions for further improvements: the responsibility of INSEE as the producer of government finance statistics should be clarified; data sharing between the Banque de France and the rest of the French statistical system improved; classification and valuation methods in balance-of-payments statistics reviewed; consistency between the current account of the balance of payments and the goods and services account in the national accounts improved; the timing of revisions in the quarterly and annual national accounts aligned; and identification of data production units of INSEE facilitated.

France continues to implement several of the 2003 ROSC Data Module recommendations, including by promoting a broader understanding of statistical data revisions, making greater use of firm-level data to improve the measurement of changes in stocks, and intensifying work on portfolio investment income with the objective of starting to record those transactions on an accrual basis.

France–Financial System Stability Assessment(FSSA)IMF Country Report

No. 04/344, 11/03/04
FSAP Assessment and Reports on ROSCsIMF Country Report

No. 04/345, 11/03/04
FSAP AssessmentIMF Country Report

No. 05/185, 06/08/05
Publication of FSAP—Detailed Assessment of Observance of Standards and CodesIMF Country Report

No. 05/186, 06/08/05
France–Financial System Stability Assessment(FSSA)IMF Country Report

No. 12/341, 12/07/12

Summary: The 2004 report concluded that France’s financial sector is strong and well supervised. No weaknesses that could cause systemic risks were identified. The strength of the system is supported by the financial soundness indicators and the strong conformity to the supervisory and regulatory standards approved by the Basel Committee, IAIS, IOSCO, FATF, and CPSS. The degree of observance of the transparency code is high in all relevant areas. The French banking sector has been modernized and restructured over the past two decades and is well capitalized. Systemic vulnerabilities in the important insurance sector are well contained. Securities markets are large and sophisticated.

The FSAP Update undertaken in January and June 2012 confirmed the resilience of France’s financial system to severe market pressures but also identified challenges faced by the system. While its structure has contributed to solid profit generation, the crisis exposed the risks posed by the banks’ size, complexity, and dependence on wholesale funding. The larger banks have been actively restructuring their balance sheets—moving to more stable sources of funding; reducing their cross-border presence; and building up capital. They remain, however, vulnerable to sustained disruptions in funding markets and reduced profitability, which would cause delays in meeting capital-raising plans.

The 2012 report confirmed that the regulatory and supervisory regime for banks, insurance, and securities market was of a very high standard. Areas for improvement that emerged from the FSAP Update included greater de jure independence of supervisory authorities; disclosure of the capital treatment and related financial interactions within complex banking groups; a move toward a more economic risk-focused approach to insurance regulation and supervision; and enhanced supervision of investment service providers and financial advisors.

The 2012 report also found disclosure-related shortcomings. French banks and listed companies, more generally, make extensive public financial disclosures under IFRS, and as a result of bank regulations (Pillar III of Basel II). Nonetheless, disclosure of financial sector data falls short of international best practice and enhancements would be highly desirable. Market discipline would benefit from the publication of regular and comparable data on an institution-by-institution basis, as well as detailed official analyses of financial sector developments in France.

Statistical Issues

The economic database is comprehensive and of high quality, and data provision to the Fund is adequate for surveillance. The authorities regularly publish a full range of economic and financial data, and calendar dates of main statistical releases are also provided. France subscribes to the Fund’s Special Data Dissemination Standard. The transmission of data in electronic form from INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) and the profusion of data from various institutions (Banque de France, INSEE, ministry of finance, ministry of labor and solidarity) have helped to build an infrastructure, in which all data can be easily accessed through the Economic Data Sharing System. A data ROSC mission conducted an assessment of the statistical system in March 2003, and the report was published in October 2003. A factual update to the main report was published in November 2004.

France’s monetary and banking statistics methodology conforms with the European Central Bank framework, which provides comparable details as the Standardized Report Forms developed by STA. Statistics for International Financial Statistics on banking institutions and monetary aggregates are prepared on a monthly basis and are timely. Monetary data are also disseminated in the quarterly IFS Supplement on monetary and financial statistics. France follows the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts 1995 (ESA95). Data for GDP and its expenditure components are available from 1978 onwards. Both annual and quarterly accounts provide reliable information, although estimates from the two accounts differ slightly before the quarterly accounts are revised to be aligned to the annual ones. In 2005, national accounts estimates were rebased to 2000 prices.

Government finance statistics have been strengthened recently. Both central and general government data are presented in a more comprehensive fashion than previously and the data for 2006 and 2007 also reflect the various impacts of recent budgetary reform. Although the source data is collected by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, INSEE is principally responsible for the compilation and dissemination of fiscal data in a framework that is consistent with ESA95. INSEE’s website has recently been enhanced; in particular, it includes expenditure tables and government revenues by subsector (central government, miscellaneous central government agencies, local governments, and social security administration).

Balance-of-payments statistics should be interpreted with caution, given large errors and omissions. Greater coherence between the external current account and the rest of the world account in the national accounts is needed. In this regard, work with promising early results has been undertaken on the transportation account.

Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance

(As of June 17, 2013)

Date of

Latest

Observation
Date

Received
Frequency

of

Data
Frequency

of

Reporting
Frequency

of

Publication
Exchange Rates05/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
International Reserve Assets and Reserve Liabilities of the Monetary Authorities103/1305/12MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
International Investment Position2011Q1:2012AnnualAnnualAnnual
Reserve/Base Money04/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Broad Money04/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Central Bank Balance Sheet04/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Consolidated Balance Sheet of the Banking System04/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Interest Rates204/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Consumer Price Index05/1306/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing3—General Government4Q4:201205/13QuarterlyQuarterlyQuarterly
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing3—Central Government504/1306/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Stock of Central Government Debt04/1305/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Stock of Central Government-Guaranteed DebtQ1:201104/13QuarterlyQuarterlyQuarterly
External Current Account Balance04/1306/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Exports and Imports of Goods and Services04/1306/13MonthlyMonthlyMonthly
GDP/GNPQ1:201305/13QuarterlyQuarterlyQuarterly
Gross External DebtQ4:201205/13QuarterlyQuarterlyQuarterly

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

This information is provided on a budget-accounting basis (not on a national accounts basis).

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

This information is provided on a budget-accounting basis (not on a national accounts basis).

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