It could be 'all change' for France's political leadership as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen face off in the second round of a presidential election. But, as David Pollard reports, 'no change' is expected as the Federal Reserve meets for its latest policy decision.It could be 'all change' on the political front as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen face off in the second round of France's presidential election. But, as David Pollard reports, 'no change' is expected as the Federal Reserve meets for its latest policy decision.
He's billed as the man with his eye on the ball - the French presidency an open goalmouth. At least, according to Europe's centrists and europhiles. Emmanuel Macron's lead after a first round of voting to be followed by second round success on May 7th - they hope. If he can garner enough votes from supporters of the three main candidates already out of the race. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "Nobody quite knows where the Fillon, Melenchon, Hamon votes will go, and it's extremely interesting to look at the map of France in the wake of the first round because it does appear as if balkanisation of the country is alive and well, with Le Pen doing very well in the east of the country, and Macron doing very well in the west. Who knows? Some uncertainty there that will keep investors on their toes." But if it could be 'all change' for France's politics, don't expect the same from the Fed when it meets on Wednesday. A round of weaker data recently has put the hawks on the back foot - growth, inflation and retail sales all pointing to a slowing US economy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "Expectation is that monetary policy in the United States will be held steady. But there may be some indications emerging in relation to the likely pace of monetary tightening over the remainder of 2017, and we'll get more information on that of course." Data will provide snapshots of first quarter euro zone growth, unemployment, and purchasing managers' indices. The spotlight still very much on Mario Draghi after last week's ECB meeting - over whether ultra-loose monetary policy is correctly calibrated to the euro zone's apparent rebound.