Macron-Le Pen in French presidential run-off as expected

Results of the first round of the French presidential election led to the expected duel between President Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. First run-off polls show that President Macron could win a second mandate on April 24 but with a much tighter margin compared to five years ago and this uncertainty could weigh on European stocks in the short term. The EUR/USD rate briefly jumped to 1.095 at the opening while the Eurostoxx 50 index opened in negative territory this morning.

Germany unveiled a massive plan to shield its economy from surging energy prices over the weekend with notably direct subsidies to energy-intensive industrial users and special loans from the federally owned development bank KfW to secure energy market liquidity among other measures which total cost could amount 100 billion euros.

Market players could focus today on the outcome of the first face-to-face meeting between President Putin and a European leader (the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer) since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24. One of the key events of the week will be the ECB meeting planned on Thursday with expectations of a shift towards hiking interest rates to cool down inflation rates before the end of year.

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