France: ‘Yellow vest’ protests bruise private-sector activity in December
In December, the seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) plummeted to 49.3 from 54.2 a month earlier, landing below the 50.0-point threshold and pointing to a rare contraction in private-sector activity.
The print reflected significant disruptions brought on by the ongoing ‘yellow vest’ protests. Services-sector activity experienced its first contraction in more than two years, while manufacturing-sector activity, rather, was held back by a slowdown in automotive output. Moreover, new orders fell and employment growth slowed. Meanwhile, both sectors witnessed a drop-off in firms’ sentiment as the prospect of further social unrest hung over their short-term plans.