March 17, 2020 / 2:26 PM / 20 days ago

France public deficit will jump to 3.9% due to coronavirus - minister

FILE PHOTO: French Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gerald Darmanin leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting and an official presentation of the pensions reform bill at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s public deficit will jump to 3.9% of gross domestic product as the coronavirus epidemic will cause the economy to shrink by an estimated 1% and a rescue plan will cost the state some 45 billion euros, French Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told financial daily Les Echos newspaper.

“I have always defended financial rigour in peacetime so that France does not have to skimp on its budget in times of war,” Darmanin was quoted as saying.

Prior to the crisis, France had drafted its 2020 state budget with a public-sector budget deficit 2.2% of GDP.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Alex Richardson

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