Macron announces economic state of emergency as yellow vests protests continue

Mon 10 Dec 2018 19:14 GMT | 23:14 Local Time

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French President Emmanuel Macron announced late Monday an economic state of emergency as the violent yellow vests protests continue in the country.

The anti-government protests convulsing France will slow growth to close to a standstill in the final quarter, the central bank said earlier on the same day, complicating Macron's task of finding concessions to placate the "yellow vest" movement.

The Bank of France on Monday forecast the euro zone's number two economy would eke out growth of only 0.2 percent in the quarter from the previous three months, down from 0.4 percent in a previous estimate.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declined to give an estimate for 2018 growth but forecast the nationwide tumult would trim 0.1 percent of a point off of national output. His deputy projected growth would round out "closer to 1.5 percent".

Police used tear gas, water cannon, and horses to charge protesters hurling projectiles, torching cars and ransacking some shops, though they encountered less violence than the previous Saturday when the capital encountered its worst violence since the 1968 student uprising.

Upscale department store Printemps, which shut its flagship store in Paris on Saturday, typically one of the busiest days of the year ahead of Christmas, said it had suffered a 25 to 30 percent slump in sales since the unrest began.

The government's latest estimates are for a budget deficit of 2.8 percent in 2019, just below the EU's 3 percent cap - a target Macron has cast as critical to meet to cement his reformist credentials.

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