French manufacturing output fell in November, a further indicator that trade uncertainty and political tension in Europe could be cooling the eurozone, the Financial Times reported. The 1.3 per cent month on month slide in industrial output was worse than the forecast in a Reuters survey of no change, following two months of growth. Manufacturing was also down 1.4 per cent in November, a 1.2 per cent decrease from November last year, the French National Institute for Economic Studies reported on Thursday. Manufacturing output remained down 1.0 per cent over the quarter.
Dealing with the gilets jaunes protests has been difficult for Mr Macron’s government, the Financial Times reported. The leaderless movement stretches across the political spectrum and has a range of often contradictory demands. In Monday’s 13-minute speech, watched by 23m people, Mr Macron spoke of the need to address a “state of economic and social emergency” and accepted responsibility that the government had not been able “to provide a sufficiently fast and strong response” and acknowledged that “I may have hurt some of you with my words”.
The French central bank has slashed its growth forecasts for the fourth quarter largely due to the impact of the often violent anti-government protests which shut down central Paris more than once in the last month. The Banque de France cut its expectation for growth in the last quarter of the year from 0.4 per cent to 0.2 per cent on Monday following another weekend of protest by the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests, the Financial Times reported. Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has said the protests were a “catastrophe” for the economy.
French carmaker Renault tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for embattled boss Carlos Ghosn, after an investigation by alliance partner Nissan led to his arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct, Reuters reported. Thierry Bollore, Ghosn’s operational second-in-command, will become deputy chief executive, while lead independent director Philippe Lagayette assumes the function of interim chairman, Renault said after a board meeting late on Tuesday.
Steinhoff International Holdings NV is considering the sale of properties within French furniture chain Conforama, the latest move by the embattled retailer to shore up its balance sheet, according to people familiar with the matter. The value of the portfolio is about 800 million euros ($907 million), said the people, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public, Bloomberg News reported. The properties are held outside European real-estate subsidiary Hemisphere, which is disposing of assets as part of a debt-restructuring deal, they said.
Rallye SA, the indebted parent of French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA, may soon face a new front in its battle against short sellers, Bloomberg News reported. Distressed debt funds betting against the company have been buying up a Rallye bond due in January 2022 that may enable them to force a default, according to people familiar with the matter. That’s because the bond includes a clause stating that if the company’s net worth falls below a certain level, the investors can call in the debt if a majority agree, said the people, asking not to be identified because it’s private.
Manufacturers from the eurozone’s two largest economies painted a gloomy picture of the outlook for the sector on Wednesday, with closely-watched indicators sinking to more than two-year lows in both countries. In Germany, the decline in sentiment extended to the services sector, dragging the composite output purchasing managers’ index to a 41-month low of 52.7. The fall in the gauge was far sharper than analysts polled by Reuters had expected: a drop of just 0.2 points to 54.8 had been anticipated.
French tyre maker Michelin warned of declining sales in Europe and China in the second half of the year, dragging down shares of its competitors in the US and Europe, the Irish Times reported. Demand for Michelin’s products fell in Western Europe because of new emissions-testing standards that have dented car sales, and dropped off in China as its auto market slumped, the company, based in Clermont Ferrand, France, said Thursday. “Given the significant decline in the passenger-car and light-truck and truck-tyre markets late in the third quarter and the further weakness expected in