France balance of payments boost as major banks move to Paris

21 Jul 2023

The success of France attracting banks from London to Paris post-Brexit has surpassed forecasts and continues to be reflected in the country's balance of payments.

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, France has lobbied international banks to move their European activities to Paris, faced with competition from other finance hubs, including Amsterdam, Dublin and Frankfurt.

France's hard work is reaping the rewards as a series of Wall Street banks, such as JPMorgan and Bank of America, have increased their operations in Paris, establishing regional trading hubs in the capital, Reuters reports.

"Paris' post-Brexit success has been spectacular. It's recently been picking up and exceeds our expectations," said Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau during the presentation of an annual report on France's balance of payments.

Balance of payments data is also experiencing the impact of the trend, with financial companies that have relocated to Paris from London contributing €1.5 billion to the country's financial services surplus last year, according to the central bank.

In 2022, France-based financial services firms' transactions with the rest of the world hit an all-time high of €10.4 billion in 2022, twice the figure at the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016, bolstered by a rise in commissions on securities and currency trading.

In addition, financial services helped to drive the country's overall services surplus to a billion Euros, also bolstered by solid income from tourism and the maritime sector, the latter stemming from elevated shipping rates and France being home to shipping giant CMA-CGM, the Reuters news agency report adds.

However, France registered a record current account deficit in 2022 of €53.9 billion, equating to 2% of economic output, as high energy import costs countered the services surplus.