Macron wins French Presidential election

May 8, 2017 Categories: Market Updates, Markets

French Election
In line with the polls, Emmanuel Macron cruised to an easy victory in the second round of the French presidential election, taking 66% of the vote.

Macron’s party, En Marche! is also doing well in the polls for the June parliamentary elections1. Which may mean that Macron’s power to implement reforms could be bigger than initially anticipated. In fact, instead of being a source of risk, Eurozone politics might become a source of upside potential.

Current eurozone politics
The outcome of the second round of the French presidential election is an unsurprising win for Emmanuel Macron. This result eliminates one of the biggest political risks in the eurozone for 2017. The upcoming German elections will turn into a fight between the pro-European Chancellor Angela Merkel and the pro-pro-European Schultz, without much investment risk attached in our view.

As to the impact on French policy making, we hope that Macron’s party will also be able to win the June parliamentary election on June 11 and 18. If this happens, Macron will have an unencumbered chance to implement his proposed structural reforms that we believe are likely to be positive for both economic growth and market performance. If Macron’s party doesn’t win, he will likely need to strike a deal with Fillon’s Les Republicains, which could limit his room for manoeuver.

Macron’s victory—in combination with the election of President Alexander van der Bellen in Austria and the pro-European House of Representatives election outcome in the Netherlands—show that continental Europe seems likely to resist the rise in populism we have recently seen in the U.S. and UK. We expect the German elections on September 24 to follow that non-populist trend. We continue to believe that continental Europe’s welfare states have successfully limited the rise in inequality that is fuelling populism.

Political risk-watch for the days ahead
With this turn of events, we are starting to cautiously take note of the potential for eurozone political developments to become a source of upside potential as opposed to downside risk for European equities.

We believe the key to that potential opportunity will be the Italian elections in 2018, which currently shows a dead heat between the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement and the pro-European Democratic Party (PD).2 However, on May 1, former prime minister Matteo Renzi recaptured the PD’s leadership with more than 70% of the primary vote.3 If he can win the elections all the major Eurozone countries would be governed by pro-European progressives, which Russell Investments strategists believe could be a real source of upside potential for eurozone markets.

Our concern, however, is that this upside potential may also be downside potential for UK markets. French President-elect Macron has been clear in his tough stance towards the Brexit negotiations. And the recent unanimous support for the European Union’s tough negotiation stance shows that other eurozone leaders are no different in their views.4 Such a united front will likely pose a significant challenge for British Prime Minister May. It makes it more likely that a sizeable exit bill will have to be paid by the UK to leave the European Union and favouritism in trade may be very limited.

European markets
The news that Macron won the presidency seems not to have had any major impact on eurozone markets this morning. We believe that this is likely due to the outcome having already been priced in, at least for the most part.

Focus for market-watchers will now shift toward the French parliamentary elections in June. We believe a win for Macron’s party those elections could be another potential positive for European markets. Afterwards, it is Italy that will dominate discussions around European political risk in 2018 in our view.


1OpinionWay-SLPV Analytics poll for Les Echos on May 3,2017
2Wikipedia. Opinion polling for next Italian General election. As of May 4, 2017
3MarketWatch. “Matteo Renzi wins Italy’s Democratic Party primary election.” May 1, 2017.
4The Guardian. “EU leaders agree on tough stance at special Brexit summit.” April 29, 2017

Wouter Sturkenboom, Senior Investment Strategist

  1. No comments yet.

This blog is not intended for retail investors. The opinions expressed herein are that of Russell Investments, are not a statement of fact, are subject to change and, unless they relates to a specified investment, do not constitute the regulated activity of “advising on investments” for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

This material does not constitute an offer or invitation to anyone in any jurisdiction to invest in any Russell product or use any Russell services where such offer or invitation is not lawful, or in which the person making such offer or invitation is not qualified to do so, nor has it been prepared in connection with any such offer or invitation.

Unless otherwise specified, Russell Investments is the source of all data. All information contained in this material is current at the time of issue and, to the best of our knowledge, accurate.

The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

Copyright © Russell Investments 2017. All rights reserved. This material is proprietary and may not be reproduced, transferred, or distributed in any form without prior written permission from Russell Investments. It is delivered on an “as is” basis without warranty.

The Russell logo is a trademark and service mark of Russell Investments.

Issued by Russell Investments Limited. Company No. 02086230. Registered in England and Wales with registered office at: Rex House, 10 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4PE. Telephone 020 7024 6000. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS.