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Brexit Briefing: EUR Steadies Then Falls After French Debate, Mixed PMI Data

Brexit Briefing: EUR Steadies Then Falls After French Debate, Mixed PMI Data

Nick Cawley, Senior Strategist


Talking Points

- French Presidential debate sees Macron ahead while Le Pen dips.

- Despite missing flash estimates, European services expansion at 70-month high.

- See the DailyFX Economic Calendar and see what live coverage for key event risk impacting FX markets is scheduled for the week on the DailyFX Webinar Calendar.

With little rhetoric coming out of the UK as Brexit negotiations loom, EURGBP was driven by events and data releases in Europe mid-week. The lastest televised French Presidential elections saw the current poll favorite Emmanuael Macron confirm his front-runner status, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen struggled in the face of fierce critism.

An Elabe poll for BFM TV showed Jean-Luc Melenchon poll 25%, Emannuel Macron 21%, Francois Fillon 15% while Le Pen trailled in fourth with 11% of the vote after Tuesday’s showdown. The latest debate has done little to further Le Pen’s chances, with last night's poll highlighting that the competition on anti-European issues from the other smaller parties contributed to the far-right leader's mediocre score. Le Pen however is still expected to go through to the second round on May 7 to face Macron, with the latter expected to win the race by a healthy margin of 61% to 39%.

In the data space, the final look at Euro-Zone services activity missed earlier expectations but still hit a 70-month high in March. According to survey provider Markit, employment growth was at the highest level since November 2007 while overall Euro-Zone manufacturing and services output was at the best level since April 2011.

According to Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit: “The expansion recorded by the final PMI numbers was not quite the growth spurt indicated by the flash release, but still points to an impressive rate of economic growth. The latest numbers round off the strongest quarter since the spring of 2011 and are consistent with Euro-Zone GDP rising by 0.6% in the first three months of 2017.”

EURGBP made early gains on both the French debate and the strong PMIs but edged off its highs after stronger-than-expected UK services data gave the British Pound a boost against the single currency.

Chart: EURGBP 10-Minute Timeframe (April 4 – April 5, 2017)

Chart by IG

The only Brexit-related talk Wednesday came from EU Parliament chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who said that the UK may one day re-join the single market. In a speech, Verhofstadt acknowledged the UK’s immense contribution to Europe and added on his Twitter account that “I am 100% sure that - one day - there will be a young leader who will try again to lead Britain back into the European family.”

Upcoming GBP Event Risk

EventsDate, Time (GMT)ForecastPrevious
UK Industrial Production Y-o-Y (Feb)April 7, 0830 GMT 3.7% 3.2%
UK Manufacturing Production Y-o-Y (Feb)April 7, 0830 GMT3.9% 2.7%
UK NIESR GDP Estimate (Mar)April 7, 1200 GMT 0.6% 0.6%


Index / Exchange RateChange (Exchange Hours/GMT Session Rollover)Market Close/Last
FTSE 1000.27%7,337

--- Written by Nick Cawley, Analyst

To contact Nick, email him at

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