a conflict that undermines the rebound of the French economy

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A filtering dam organized by "yellow gilets", Gaillon (Eure), Wednesday 5 December. BENJAMIN GIRETTE / HANS LUCAS FOR "THE WORLD"

On October 10th, experts from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) showed a certain optimism, even optimism. The growth in the last months of 2018 proved to be much better than the 0.2% recorded, on average, in the first half. INSEE has forecast an increase of 1.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the whole year, with a significant acceleration in the third and fourth quarter (0.5% and 0.4%). The reason for this expected awakening was an expression: purchasing power.

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The French had to go back to the shops and restaurants: the fall in inflation, the elimination of the rest of the unemployment insurance premiums for the employees and the reduction of the house tax for some families had to be combined to feed a wave of consumer fever. At the same time, companies have had to continue their investments. Las, in mid-November, the high prices of the pump have captured this pleasant scenario giving life to the crisis of "yellow jackets".

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The blockages of roads and oil depots, as well as demonstrations that have degenerated into violent clashes, have had an impact "Serious" on the business, assures the Minister of Economy, Bruno Mayor, without further details. " For now, we have no objective macroeconomic data to evaluate the consequences of these events ", says Denis Ferrand, general manager of Rexecode Institute.

"The most threatened sectors are those already weakened: agri-food, retail …"

Stéphane Colliac, senior economist for France at Euler Hermes, is risking an evaluation. The blocks and demonstrations observed in the last three weeks should be clear "A horrible 2018 year in terms of consumption, which is responsible for more than half of economic growth in France: GDP should only grow by 1.5% this year, 0.1 percentage points lower than to the latest INSEE forecasts for October..

"More than 200 companies have been degraded"

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For now, nothing to do with the episodes of May 1968 or November-December 1995. During these two social movements, the French economy was confronted with "Production blocks"when, at the moment, the blocks are more concentrated on the distribution, underlines Ferrand, who recalls that in 1968 the growth had fallen by 5.3% in the second quarter, to violently go up by 8% in the third. In 1995, between 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points of GDP evaporated at the end of the year. For Philippe Waechter, Chief Economist of Ostrum Asset Management, the current configuration is more similar to the events of 2010, with the mobilizations against pension reform during the five-year period of Nicolas Sarkozy.

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