The first round of the French elections took place on Sunday and saw Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen through to the presidential run off. The two candidates have very different visions for the future path of France. Far-right party nationalist Le Pen wants to push France out of the EU and back to their native Franc currency. Pro-EU Centrist Leader Macron however, embraces the EU. Macron's victory was seen as good news for Europe. The two candidates face the final runoff on 7th May.
Polls showed Macron just triumphed with 23.8% of votes, thus making him the firm favourite to win and become the youngest ever French President. This pro-EU victory resulted in the single currency making gains against its major peers, as investors’ confidence returned.
Little data is expected today as markets will continue to digest the first round of French election results. This morning does however see the release of the German Ifo Business Climate.
The only pieces of high tier data released on Tuesday will come from the US. US Consumer Confidence is forecast to show a slight decrease from the previous 125.6. New Home Sales however are expected to remain constant at around 590k.
Midweek sees the US Crude Oil Inventories being released. Otherwise, there is little event risk to watch out for.
The European Central Bank rate decision and press conference will be the main event for markets to focus on Thursday. As growth and inflation has shown steady gains, many are looking for the Head of the ECB, Mario Draghi to discuss the start of the tapering of their current QE. As rates are expected to remain unchanged, the focus will be on what Draghi will outline for future actions if the Eurozone continues to gain momentum on all fronts.
The afternoon sees the Monthly Durable Goods Orders figure released from the US. Attention will be on identifying whether there is a possible slowdown happening.
The week ends with attention on the first readings of the UK and US economic growth for the first quarter of 2017. Investors will look to see if the UK’s Brexit vote slowed growth at the start of this year and more importantly, if it fails to meet the expected 0.4% reading.
US growth is expected to come in at around 1.3%, any figure above or below this will cause volatility for the Greenback. The yearly inflation figure from the Eurozone is forecast to increase to 1.8%, therefore creeping closer to the ECB’s target of near 2%.