Macron’s win eases European fears and boosts markets
After much speculation over the result, Emmanuel Macron won the French election convincingly on Sunday, securing over 66% of the vote. This was significantly higher than the polls were predicting. The EU will have breathed a sigh of relief on the result, as it leaves the nationalist Marine Le Pen away from the Presidency. Furthermore, Macron campaigned on an unashamedly pro-EU mandate, and his election may well lead the way to further European integration. Macron’s presidency will be supported by an increasingly healthy Eurozone economy, which is predicted to post more than 1.7% growth in 2017. This will make policies such as lowering unemployment and public spending pledges significantly easier.
The US economy added 211,000 jobs in April, higher than expected and a sharp rebound to the disappointing 79,000 created in March. Along with the jobs growth, the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%. This is now significantly below the 5% “full employment” level. The scope for further job creation without greater pressure on wages may be limited. The Federal Reserve will keep a close eye on these data points, and although no changes were made at the last meeting, there is a strong likelihood that there will be an interest rate rise in June.
The oil price has seen a steady fall of over 10% since the beginning of April, along with a range of other commodities. Faith in the OPEC cartel to balance the global market in the face a revived US shale oil industry has faded. It appears that many US producers took the opportunity of the elevated price to sell forward their production, securing their operations over the coming year. The rate of decline in global inventories has disappointed persistently, and it may take further action from OPEC to support a price rise. However, non-OPEC members such as Russia, who participated originally, appear also to be losing confidence in the cuts, as they are seeing their market share become eroded. Many oil producing countries have failed to repair their finances and adjust to a lower oil price world, and any further actions may prove unpredictable.
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Trade balances and inflation figures for China will be released this week, giving a further insight into the current health of the world’s second largest economy. Furthermore, the UK will see the Bank of England interest rate decision announced on Thursday and US inflation data for April will be released on Friday.