June 24, 2022

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markets skittish as far-right candidate Le Pen closes gap

2 min read

French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen has gained ground against incumbent President Emmanuel Macron in the latest polling ahead of the first round of the French presidential election on April 10.

Charles Platiau | Reuters

French markets have been jolted as new polling shows far-right candidate Marine Le Pen closing the gap to incumbent President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the country’s presidential election.

The latest Ipsos Sopra Steria Cevipof poll for Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday gave Macron a projected vote share of 26.5% to Le Pen’s 21.5% in the first round of ballots on April 10, compared to 28% for Macron and 17.5% for Le Pen in the last poll conducted March 21-24.

French bonds slid sharply on Tuesday as a fresh poll emerged, sending the benchmark 10-year yield to its highest since 2015, while the CAC 40 stock index underperformed the rest of Europe to fall by almost 1.3% and continued to retreat on Wednesday.

Although Macron is still favored to win a run-off on April 24, Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, is now in her strongest polling position yet on a platform focused around restricting immigration and boosting law enforcement funding. The National Rally has also proposed new pledges aimed at working people concerned about the cost of living, such as a wealth tax.

The candidacy of Éric Zemmour, seen as even further to the right than Le Pen, has aided her efforts to appear a more moderate option than previously perceived and become palatable to portions of the center-right disillusioned with Macron’s tenure.

Antonio Barroso, deputy director of research at Teneo, said in a note on Wednesday that voters had begun to coalesce around the candidates with the highest chance of making the run-off, with Le Pen gaining voters from Zemmour.

Barroso said the risk of a Le Pen victory has increased, but Teneo still foresees a 75% probability of Macron retaining the presidency.

Some of the skittishness in markets at the prospect of a Le Pen…

2022-04-06 04:49:00

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