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Moody’s considers it “unlikely” that France will meet its objective of lowering the public deficit to 2.7% by 2027

The rating agency Moody's said this Wednesday that it considered it "unlikely" that France would meet its objective of reducing the public deficit to 2.

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Moody’s considers it “unlikely” that France will meet its objective of lowering the public deficit to 2.7% by 2027

The rating agency Moody's said this Wednesday that it considered it "unlikely" that France would meet its objective of reducing the public deficit to 2.7% by 2027, despite being repeated by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday. The institution notably estimated that the 10 billion additional savings in 2024 would be insufficient to “put the government back on the planned budgetary trajectory”.

The announcement of a slippage in the deficit to 5.5% of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2023 “makes it improbable” that the government will meet its objective of reducing the deficit to 2.7% of GDP by 2027 , “as provided for in its medium-term budget plan presented in September,” Moody’s wrote in a press release. The American agency, whose schedule provides for an update of the French rating on April 26, specifies that the opinion published Wednesday is not a rating opinion strictly speaking.

INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) indicated on Tuesday that the deficit, at 5.5% of GDP in 2023, had exceeded by 15.8 billion euros and 0.6 percentage points, the government's forecast which was 4.9%, further complicating the debt reduction objective displayed by the French Minister of the Economy. Bruno Le Maire nevertheless reaffirmed on Tuesday his “total determination” to return below the 3% public deficit in 2027.

Also readPublic deficit: Bruno Le Maire “remains totally opposed to any tax increase”

“The larger-than-expected deficit is almost entirely due to lower-than-expected revenues,” Moody's adds. This higher deficit “underlines the risks inherent in the government's medium-term budgetary strategy, which is based on optimistic economic and revenue assumptions, as well as unprecedented reductions in spending,” judges the rating agency.

Furthermore, Moody's considers it “unlikely” that the government will meet its objective of a deficit of 4.4% this year despite the savings in the 2024 budget and the additional cuts announced. Reducing the deficit by one percentage point in one year, excluding exceptional circumstances linked to Covid, “has only been done once since 2000”, recalls the agency. Moody's also expects the level of public debt to rise “slowly” from 2024, exposing the country to interest-related costs “never seen in more than 20 years”.

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