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Macron holds on to lead with French Presidential election too close to call

City A.M. Thursday, 20 April 2017
Macron holds on to lead with French Presidential election too close to callEmmanuel Macron has hung on to his lead in polls ahead of the French Presidential election in a race that has become almost too close for analysts to call.

The outcome of the Sunday vote is highly uncertain, with the top four candidates all expected to be contenders for a top-two spot.

Independent centre-left candidate Macron leads with 25 per cent of the vote against 22 per cent intending to vote for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, according to a poll by Harris Interactive and France Televisions.

*Read more*: Macron tops French Presidential election poll as Le Pen visits Russia

However, a daily poll conducted by Opinionway shows Macron’s share at only 23 per cent, with Le Pen, right-wing candidate Francois Fillon and left-winger Jean-Luc Melenchon all within the four per cent margin of error found during previous elections.

The euro hit three-week highs against the US dollar today in anticipation of a Macron victory, before paring some gains at the time of writing.

The price differences between French and German government bonds, which analysts take as a proxy for diverging levels of political stability, have narrowed in recent days as investors bet on a positive result for markets.

*Read more*: Timid centrist Emmanuel Macron is unlikely to fix a failing France

Jordan Rochester, foreign exchange strategist at Nomura, said: “Macron is the holy grail for market positivity.” However, the big question ahead of the vote may be if a recent surge in the vote share of Melenchon has been truly captured, he said.

The spread between yields on 10-year German and French bonds widened to more than 75 basis points on 11 April as the jump in Melenchon’s poll ratings saw fears rise he would face Le Pen in the final run-off vote.

Both Le Pen and Melenchon, from either end of the political spectrum, have expressed scepticism on France’s membership of the euro.

The possibility of France leaving the euro would plunge the European Union into political and financial chaos, although most analysts think that outcome is still a distant possibility.

*Read more*: Don't compare Le Pen to Brexit and Trump: Marine doesn't have a chance

Polls show Macron beating all comers in the final round of voting, with Le Pen losing to the other three main candidates.

Exit polls are expected to give early indications of the results around 7pm on Sunday, with the top two candidates then going through to the final vote, on 7 May.
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News video: Macron, Le Pen Move To Second Round Of French Presidential Election

Macron, Le Pen Move To Second Round Of French Presidential Election 00:39

According to projections after the first round of voting on Sunday, centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen will move to the second round of the most tightly contested French presidential election in decades. The vote is latest test of a global populist wave, that led to...

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