French protests hit economic growth

1 Mar 19

The French ‘yellow vests’ protests have shaved 0.2 percentage points off the country’s economic growth since the end of last year, the country’s finance minister has said.

The anti-government protests began in mid-November over fuel hikes - which were later scrapped – and living costs, but have since spiralled into riots against government’s reforms.

In December, businesses in central Paris were forced to temporarily close as the capital suffered its worst rioting in decades, with at least nine people confirmed killed.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told Public Senat television on Thursday: “It’s a very high cost. It’s of the order of 0.2 percentage points of quarterly growth, so it’s a lot.”

The government said previously that the protests had slashed more than 0.1 percentage points off growth, which amounts to about €2.5bn.

The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the French national statistics bureau known as INSEE, said this week that the economy grew by 0.3% in the fourth quarter.

INSEE also confirmed the economy grew 1.5% over last year, down from a decade high of 2.3% in the year before.

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