French economy shrank by 13.8% in the second quarter - INSEE

FILE PHOTO: Customers have lunch on a terrace of a restaurant on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris as restaurants and cafes reopen following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The French economy contracted by a massive 13.8% in the second quarter, as household consumption, company investment and trade all collapsed under a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus epidemic, preliminary data showed on Friday.

The contraction in the euro zone’s second-largest economy was steeper than the 10.1% reported by Germany, where authorities kept a surge in COVID-19 related deaths in check and did not have to enforce a lockdown as strict as France’s.

The French lockdown was stringently enforced until May 11, with non-essential shops shut down, and gradually lifted over the course of the second quarter, with cafes and restaurants being allowed to open on June 2.

The contraction was not as bad, however, as the 17% predicted earlier this month by national statistics office INSEE and the 15.3% pencilled in by analysts polled by Reuters.

INSEE said earlier this year it expected the economy to rebound by 19% in the third quarter and a further 3% in the fourth quarter, with activity 1% to 6% below pre-crisis levels by December.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Tom Hogue