Elections set the agenda in Europe

Market movers ahead

  • There are no clear favourites in the first round of the French presidential elections, in which several candidates are EU sceptics.

  • The ECB meets during the week and will probably take the opportunity to dampen the expectations of higher rates that came in the wake of the March meeting.

  • Euro-area inflation will probably rise slightly in April, but nowhere near enough for the ECB to start tightening monetary policy.

  • Confidence indicators have been pointing to strong growth in the US in 2017, but hard data have been more subdued, so there is strong interest in the GDP numbers for Q1.

  • In Sweden, the Riksbank is expected to announce that it will not be extending its asset purchase programme even though inflation remains low.


Global macro and market themes

  • Elections in Europe come against the backdrop of the global business cycle looking to lose momentum.

  • First round of French presidential elections too close to call.

  • Relief rally expected if mainstream candidates go to second round.

  • A run-off between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon cannot be precluded and could set off a major market correction.

  • The UK election is likely to strengthen Theresa May's hand in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.


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