Newswires were dominated by both politics and economic data last week. Not only did we see the French Presidential vote and UK general election campaign but also the all-important non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate released from the US.
Labour data from the States gave the Greenback a boost on Friday and helped to solidify the Federal Reserve’s stance of a rate hike in June. Non-farm payrolls rebounded from last month’s 10-month low of 79k to a bullish 211k. The headline unemployment rate also improved on the previous reading, posting a decade low of 4.4%.
In the UK, 88 local councils went to the polls last week. Conservatives were the biggest winners and took control of additional councils in England and Wales and started to make gains in Scotland, where they hadn’t before. Although these are council elections, it indicates the thoughts of voters and how the General Election could potentially go in June.
Last night, Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen to become the next French President, winning by 66.06% to 33.94%. Macron will be the youngest president in the history of France, as well as the first to become president from outside of the two traditional main parties. Macron is a liberal centrist and has strong support for the EU. With his party only established a little more than a year ago, the next challenge for Macron will be for his party to make gains in Parliaments elections in June. Without them, Macron will only have limited powers, as the parliament set the fiscal policy and pass legislation.