French economy to grow by only 1.4 pct in ’19 – Min.

PARIS, France’s economy will only expand by 1.4 percent in 2019, down 0.3 percent from earlier official predictions of 1.7 percent, Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.

Appearing before the Senate Laws and Economic Affairs Commission, Le Maire said he would confirm the growth figure later in the year and he defended the solidity of the economy, which he said would grow more than the average in the European Union this year.

Le Maire was appearing in the Senate commission alongside Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to give account of the massive rioting and its cost last Saturday in Paris and other parts of the country.

The violence on the Champs Elysee avenue in the capital left almost 100 shops, luxury outlets, restaurants and hotels damaged and 27 stores were looted by hordes of “ultras,” the name given to violent extremists who have infiltrated the Yellow Vest demonstrations calling for better social conditions.

The French Minister said earlier that the frequent Saturday rioting that has hit the Yellow Vest protests since last November have done Euros 170 million in damage, added to which is the cost of last weekend’s violence which would bring the overall damage to Euros 200 million.

The cost in terms of the overall economy was put at a loss of 0.2 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to lost output and a downturn in tourist reservations.

In addition, the government has been forced to budget Euros 10 billion in new concessions following the start of the Yellow Vest protests.

These concessions concern mainly the cancelling of a planned fuel tax and modification of taxes on retirees as wells as an increase of Euros 100 in the minimum wage.

Source: Kuwait News Agency