Yellow vest protests to shave 20 bps off quarterly growth
Paris: The Bank of France on Monday slashed its fourth quarter growth forecast in half, to 0.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent, citing the impact of the "yellow vest" protests which have rocked the country.
"Services activity has slowed under the impact of the movement. Transport, the restaurant and auto repair sectors have gone backwards," the French central bank said in its latest company survey.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had warned Sunday that the protests sweeping France were a "catastrophe."
"It's a catastrophe for commerce, it's a catastrophe for our economy," Le Maire told reporters as he visited shops in Paris hit by looting during anti-government riots a day earlier.
The Bank of France's latest estimate for the three months to December is well short of the 0.8 per cent that would be needed to meet the government's 2018 growth target of 1.7 per cent.
The French economy expanded 0.4 per cent in the third quarter and 0.2 per cent in both the first and second, according to official statistics.
Le Maire, speaking earlier on RTL, said he expected the protests to cut fourth quarter growth by 0.1 percentage point but refused to comment on a possible downward revision of the full-year 1.7 per cent