Markets sigh with relief after Macron win

It means there's a sterling sting in the tail for Irish exporters...

The markets have let out a sigh of relief following the first round of voting in the French presidential election on Sunday.

The euro initially jumped 2%, landing at its highest level in five months. It had its strongest showing against the dollar since November 10th, the day after the results of the US presidential election.

With independent candidate Emmanuel Macron coming out on top and primed to beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the final round, Asian markets were trading higher on Monday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.5% at one point before a slight retreat.

Early trading has seen French government bonds rallying hard. It means the gap between French and German borrowing costs has narrowed sharply, signalling increased confidence in lending to Paris.

France’s stock market is “tipped to rocket”, the Guardian reports, possibly by more than 4%.

'Not so good' for Irish exporters

Market analyst Paul Sommerville told Newstalk:

"We're in for a busy morning on financial markets. At least the polls got it correctly, so very accurate poll predicting...

"So the euro is the first thing that happens. There's a lot of buying of the euro in Asian markets – the euro trading at around [$1.09] against the dollar. That's a huge move up for the euro from Friday's close at around 107.

"From an Irish perspective, the euro's moved up hugely against sterling, so not so good for us. It's moved from about 83p on Friday; we're trading at around 85p this morning.

"We're expecting the equity markets obviously to open up very strongly, we're expecting the DAX to be up nearly 200 points, the American markets look like they're going to start strongly and of course the UK markets also very strong.

"So in general the markets will have a little bit of relief – it looks pretty straight forward now that Macron will win the second round handsomely."

There had been concerns from investors that Mr Macron would be defeated by the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leaving two Eurosceptic candidates in the final running in France.

The centrist topped the voting with 23.7% and will face off against Le Pen (21.7%) in the battle for the French presidency in two weeks. 

Despite Mr Macron being a relative political novice who has never held elected office before, polls have consistently suggested if he went up against Le Pen in the final battle he would easily win.

Mr Macron appears to have the momentum on his side with the defeated socialist candidate Benoit Hamon and republican Francois Fillon pledging to throw their weight behind him to defeat Le Pen and her anti-immigration and anti-Europe policies.