The two remaining candidates for the French Presidency battled it out last night in the final TV debate ahead of Sunday’s judgement day. Centrist Macron and far-right Le Pen traded blows in the ill-tempered affair, with Macron emerging as the consensus winner. The pair discussed national security, the EU, international policies and economic issues. The highlights include Le Pen accusing Macron of being German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lapdog, saying “in any case, France will be run by a woman; Me or Madame Merkel”. While Macron accused Le Pen of fear-mongering and challenged her stance on the Euro.
Following the successful UK Manufacturing PMI on Tuesday, the construction PMI also registered higher than expected yesterday. The reading had been expected by Economists to post slightly lower than last month at 52.0. However, this exceeded and was announced at 53.1, the fast rate of expansion so far this year. Although, it had little impact on the Sterling due to the construction sector only accounting for a small part of the UK economy. The services PMI, released today, is expected at 54.6 and accounts for 80% of the UK economy. This will be closely watched to see if the bullish PMI trend from the UK continues.
Across the pond, the US ADP Non-Farm Employment Change and ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI figures were released. ADP Non-Farm Employment Change came in as expected at 177k, with the service-providing sector and midsized businesses recording the highest results. Looking at changes in total nonfarm private employment, the figure gives the first indication of the Government-released employment data figure released on Friday.
Yesterday’s posting of the ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI exceeded economists’ consensus at 57.5, compared to the 56.1 forecasted. As expected, the FOMC statement left rates unchanged leaving a rate hike in June extremely likely. The Fed Officials also see the ‘slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory.’ Last night’s hawkish Fed tone boosted the chances of a June rate hike to over 90%, whilst the Dollar made gains on the majority of its counterparts.
Other than the UK Services PMI, data released today is relatively light. The Eurozone will release services PMI data from Spain, Italy, France and Germany and ECB President Mario Draghi will speak later this afternoon.
In the US, jobless claims, which looks at the number of new claims for unemployment aid, is expected to improve to 246K.