Despite the increasing number of alerts, the curve continues to increase. After having exceeded the highly symbolic threshold of 3,000 billion euros in the first quarter, over the last three months, French debt has grown again, according to INSEE. Published this Friday morning, a note from national statisticians indicates that the public debt has exceeded 3040 billion euros, even reaching 3046.9 billion euros.
In detail, the debt increased by 34.5 billion euros. In absolute value, it therefore continues its momentum, driven by the State, while the debt of local administrations, social security and various organizations “decreases”. “However, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and taking into account the strong growth of GDP in value in the second quarter, it decreases by 0.7 points compared to the first quarter of 2023 and stands at 111.8%. », Specifies the note.
The growth of public debt has skyrocketed in recent years. Established at 1,000 billion euros in 2003, INSEE announced its crossing of the 2,000 billion euro mark nine years ago, almost to the day, on September 30, 2014. The health crisis then caused it to gave it a boost, making it jump by 640 billion euros between the end of 2019 - 2,375 billion - and the beginning of 2023 - 3,013 billion. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the evolution is just as striking: after a decline between 2017 and the end of 2019, “whatever it costs” weighed heavily, generating a surge from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2023, of 97, 4% to 112.5% of GDP.
In terms of debt, France is one of the poor performers in the euro zone, with a particularly poor record. Not only is the ratio among the highest among our partners - only Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain were doing worse, according to a Eurostat note last July - but the trend is not good. While Athens, Madrid, Lisbon and a number of other capitals are increasing their efforts to reduce their debt, Paris is continuing its momentum. Enough to provoke reprimands from the European Commission.
It must be said that the context has changed a lot. While France could, like its partners, go into debt for nothing, the cost of money has jumped since the end of 2021, as rates increased. In terms of debt, the forecasts presented this Wednesday by Bercy, as part of the 2024 draft budget, are not very reassuring: the deficit would decrease to 4.4% next year, and debt would stagnate for several years around 110%. An opinion shared by the Banque de France, in its latest macroeconomic projections.
The debt burden will automatically increase, jumping from 52 billion in 2024 to 61 billion in 2026. At the same time, France is expected to borrow a record amount on the markets this year... “In a context where the significant increase in the interest charge contributes to increasing expenditure, the PLF contains few structural savings measures [...] and provides for quasi-stability in the rate of compulsory deductions", logically sanctioned the High Council of Public Finances, in its opinion on this text.