PARIS (Nov 8): France‘s economic outlook is deteriorating as the latest lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 is set to force the government to lower its forecasts for next year.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview with Sunday paper Journal Du Dimanche that he will present a downgraded forecast in the next two weeks. The current 2021 budget is based on a 8% expansion of gross domestic product.

“The crisis is particularly violent and brutal for a certain number of sectors, and it will be long lasting,” Le Maire said.

A week after imposing a new lockdown, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to accelerate in France and hospitals are under increasing strain dealing with severely sick patients.

But the restrictions are not as tough as in the spring, which has allowed more businesses to continue to function. The government expects economic activity to run at around 85% of pre-crisis levels, instead of as little as 70% in the first lockdown.

Le Maire said a strong rebound in output and job creation over the summer shows the French economy can resist.

“Let’s remain confident: our economy and our fundamentals are solid,” Le Maire said.