The "yellow vests" saviors of the French economy? One can legitimately ask this question, voluntarily provocative, after the publication by the Bank of France, Thursday evening, of its new macroeconomic forecasts. The institution thus evokes growth rates for the country of between 1.4% and 1.5% between 2019 and 2021. This is certainly much less than the 1.7% that the government still had at the end of 2018. and registered in the finance law for this year but much more than the small 1% anticipated by the OECD for the entire euro area. "In a more uncertain context, French growth would be resilient"writes the central banker in his note. For what reasons ?

The Banque de France speaks modestly of "Measures known as MUES". "POWERED"? "Economic and social emergency measures"that is, those announced by Emmanuel Macron in mid-December under the pressure of yellow vests and then voted by Parliament by Parliament before Christmas to try to calm the anger on the roundabouts. "The activity in France should certainly suffer from the weak demand of its trading partners but would however benefit from the sharp rebound in purchasing power and household consumption, supported by the decline in the price of oil at the end of the year. last year and the important budgetary measures voted in December ", can we also read in this same note.

Restarting consumption

Increase in the activity premium, tax exemption for overtime, tax-free premium paid by some companies, cancellation of the increase in CSG for a large part of pensioners … In all, 10 billion euros for households injected into the economy , financed both by additional revenue (more than 2 billion euros) on very large companies (Gafa tax and small break in the drop in corporate tax) and budget savings still unknown (1, 5 billion). Financed also – and especially – by drawing on the public deficit, which, according to the government, will reach in 2019 not the 2.8% of GDP forecast in the budget law but 3.2% of GDP.

"From the beginning of this year, household consumption would be significantly stronger, supported by the still greater dynamism of purchasing power"still writes the Banque de France. "Household consumption", traditional engine of French growth remained desperately down – much to the chagrin of the government – much of the year 2018, "Would therefore accelerate in 2019, but would also maintain a steady pace in 2020".

If businesses have suffered blockages and weekly demonstrations of yellow vests, they should also enjoy, in a second time, the "Purchasing power" returned to households through – notably – emergency measures. Like what, a "shock of demand" can also, in times of heavy international economic time (American sanctions, German slowdown, Brexit …), help the maintenance of the French economy. The "yellow vests" saviors of the French economy? Perhaps … In any case, without their mobilization, Emmanuel Macron and his government would never have made these choices.

Lilian Alemagna

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