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The French housing market again saw a modest decline in 2013: sales volumes were down 2% in pre-owned housing. Between February and November, they even rose by 8% over 12 months, with close to 60,000 sales a month.
The UK unemployment rate has shrunk by 0.7 percentage points in less than six months to reach 7.1% in the three months to November.
French business investment fell. But the drop was far more contained than in other countries, which is surprising considering the margin ratio trend described above. In fact, at present, there is a marked de-correlation between the investment ratio of French businesses (the ratio of GFCF to the value added a firm generates), which provides an indication of the investment effort made, and their margin ratios.
It will take time for European economies to make up for the effects of the crisis. The question as to whether the weaker Eurozone countries will be able to get by under their own steam is now probably on the table. In this respect, the ability to sustain efforts towards further integration in the ‘Old World' could become key for the markets.
The crisis has had a very negative impact on the French labour market, with an increase of the unemployment rate of more than three points between 2007 and 2013. In view of this, we are likely to see a rise in NAIRU, the structural unemployment rate, with a negative impact on potential growth.
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