Will a calmer macro-economic environment enable France to return to more robust growth? Confidence within France is still severely shaken. There are worries about the rise in unemployment, which is forecast at 11% of the active workforce this year, stronger fiscal pressures and the government’s inability to get a grip. President Hollande’s recent ‘social-democratic’ turnaround, with his ‘responsibility pact’ aimed at lowering employment costs coupled with reduced public expenditure (in order to cut taxes), was welcomed by the majority of French, but so far pledges have rung hollow with the state continuing to spend and regulate to excess. France is now being labelled by many as the ‘sick man’ of Europe.
Unsurprisingly the French nautical industry is feeling the chill. For the second year running, production of boats has fallen in France. According to La Fédération des industries Nautique’s (FIN) figures, production was valued at $740.3m (-4%) for the 2012/13 nautical year (august 31, 2012 to September 1, 2013), with production of 47,131 units (-14%). Turnover was respectively $780m in 2011/12 (-13.6%), $900m in 2010/11 (+10.7%) and $815m in 2009/10 (+7%).
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