24/04/2016 - Euro Strengthens as Macron Leaps First Hurdle Towards Presidency

EUR

The Euro strengthened after Emmanuel Macron took a significant step towards the French presidency on Sunday by winning the first round of voting and qualifying for a May 7 runoff against National Front leader Marine Le Pen. Mr Macron won 23.8% of votes in the first round, while Ms Le Pen took 21.5%. Several political rivals are now expected to unite behind Mr Macron in the run-off vote, in a bid to keep Ms Le Pen's Front National (FN) from power.

GBP

British retail sales posted their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in the first three months of 2017, as rising prices since last year's Brexit vote put more pressure on consumers. The volume of goods sold in shops and online fell  by 1.4 percent in the three months to the end of March, after rising 0.8 percent in the last three months of 2016. This was the biggest quarterly decline since early 2010, reinforcing most economists' view that household spending is now slowing sharply.

USD

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer believes changes that President Donald Trump's proposed new bank regulations could pose a serious threat to the financial system. "We seem to have forgotten that we had a financial crisis which was caused by behavour in the banking and other parts of the financial system and it did enormous damage to this economy...Millions of people lost their jobs, millions of people lost their houses."

"The strength of the financial system is absolutely essential to the ability of the economy to continue to grow at reasonable rate, and taking actions which remove the changes that were made to strengthen the structure of the financial system is very dangerous," he added. Stanley also believes two more  interest rate hikes this year remains an appropriate for the Federal Reserve despite some recent weak inflation readings.

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