Though the bond markets have yet to turn on the second most powerful member of the euro zone, a look at France’s debt figures show why some are worried they might. The French government and corporations are stretched to their limits debt-wise, and though newly elected French President Francois Hollande won his post on a campaign to fight austerity, he’s still sticking to an EU commitment to cut France’s deficit to 3% of GDP by 2013. And while France hasn’t had a balanced budget in forty years, Hollande seeks to match revenues and expenses by 2017. The new President indeed has a tough row to hoe as he works toward the seemingly opposing goals of reigning in budgets and promoting growth, but perhaps the debt levels below are just the motivation he and his countrymen need to get the job done.
Total Debt as a percentage of GDP: 346%
Nonfinancial Corporations: 111%
Financial Institutions: 97%