Macron lends euro a helping hand ahead of European Central Bank meeting
Euro banknotes with different values.
Jens Buttner | photo alliance | Getty Images
The euro got off to a strong start to the week on investor relief that incumbent President Emmanuel Macron led the vote in the first round of the French presidential election, while other moves were light ahead of central bank meetings in Europe, Canada and New Zealand.
The euro briefly hovered as high as $1.0955 in the early hours of the Asian session, before settling around 0.15% higher than Friday’s close at $1.0890. It was also firmer on sterling and the yen.
With 88% of the votes counted, Macron garnered 27.41% and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen was next with 24.9%.
They will contest a second round on April 24. Macron’s lead has given markets wary of Le Pen’s protectionism some confidence, even as he no longer advocates abandoning the euro, although gains were capped ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank.
“It’s uneven support,” said Westpac strategist Imre Speizer, as investors also grapple with an ECB that likely won’t look as aggressive as the Federal Reserve in tackling inflation.
“I think the bigger story of the two central banks being quite different is probably quite supportive for the US dollar in the long run,” he said.
The U.S. dollar index topped 100 for the first time in nearly two years on Friday, and held steady at 99.805 in morning trade. Against the Japanese currency, the dollar was firm and bought 124.32 yen.
The ECB weighed rising consumer prices against the pressure on growth from the war in Ukraine. He is expected to give more details on a reduction in asset purchases on Thursday, but may not give other explicitly hawkish signals.
Central bank meetings are also scheduled in Canada and New Zealand on Wednesday and interest rate swap prices indicate traders see more than a 90% chance that each will raise rates by 50 basis points.
This could leave both currencies vulnerable if a lower rate hike is realized.
The New Zealand dollar fell 0.2% to $0.6836, while the Canadian dollar held steady at C$1.2583 per greenback.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar also eased 0.2% to $0.7447 as gains in commodity-linked currencies begin to fade further with a pullback in export prices. The British pound held at $1.3026.