AFP.- Two months after the commencement in France of the movement of the “yellow vests”, the protests are taking the first consequences for the country’s economy, since the growth of the GDP to tourism, going by the trade or the agricultural sector.
What threat to growth?
In mid-December, the Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that the problems related to the “yellow vests” could result in the loss of France by 0.1 point of growth in the fourth quarter, although he rejected lowering the annual target of the government to 2018, 1.7% of GDP.
For its part, the French central banker confirmed on Friday its own growth forecast for the fourth quarter of 2018, which came to 0.2% of GDP compared to 0.4% of the earlier forecast, in the context of a general slowdown in Europe.
The bank also indicated that the movement of the “yellow vests” continues to affect the economic activity in 2019, but in specific sectors and way less intense than some economists had expected.
Consequences for the employment
According to the minister of Labour, Muriel Pénicaud, the protests have forced them to put in a partial arrest of the employees of many small and medium-sized businesses, and announced an assistance of € 32 million to pay the salaries of 58.000 people.
For his part, the president of the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), Robert Ophèle, spoke Thursday of the potential consequences of the protests, in some cases violent, to the city of Paris, aims to become a european financial marketplace to the detriment of London in the context of the Brexit.
“At the moment no one has told us that waiver to come to Paris due to the movement of the yellow vests,” he told AFP. “However, our partners have doubts about the consequences and the duration of the movement,” he explained.
Less american tourists and asian
The images of the violent clashes in the capital and other cities of France also had consequences for the tourism.
The arrivals of international air to Paris fell in December, between 5% and 10%, indicated Friday Christian Mantei, head of Atout France, the agency that promotes tourism French abroad. “The americans and asians are affected the most, as the clientele of high-end,” he says.
According to the secretary of State of Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the greatest impact took place in December. “In January and February the decline slowed down, and in march will grow international arrivals,” he said.
Trade to the low
Shortly before Christmas, the French Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD), evaluated at 2,000 billion euros losses for the retail trade, we now expect that the sales period can make up for it.
Losses in the agri-food sector
The agri-food sector was affected above all by blockages of roads during the holiday of the end of the year, a period crucial to its billing, with losses evaluated at 13,000 million euros, according to the French association of the food industry.
A responsible of a company that did not want to be identified told AFP the “extortion” that occurred in some of the roundabouts in the country, blocked for weeks by protesters.
“Some owners of supermarkets had to deliver salads and food to the yellow vests to prevent them from opening their trucks, that the plunder or destroy their warehouses,” he said.
More than 6,000 claims
Since the movement started, the insurance companies recorded approximately 6,000 incidents related to the protests, including damage by 4,000 vehicles, in several hundreds of homes and 2,000 businesses who suffered damage and losses. According to the insurers, the overall cost could reach between a hundred and two hundred million euros.
In the sector of road transport, the operating loss amounted to about 2,000 million euros in the sector, said on Christmas the National Federation (FNTR).
Photo: Daily File Transport
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