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DailyFX European Market Wrap: French Political Risks Loom over Markets

DailyFX European Market Wrap: French Political Risks Loom over Markets

Katie Pilbeam,

Political concerns, including signs far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is gaining popularity in France's presidential race are fueling investor demand for safe havens and gold is reaping the benefits.

Gold’s rally seems unstoppable and it’s all thanks to European elections jitters, Brexit fog and a looming Italian banking crisis. As a consequence the commodity remains at a three-month high. We’re looking at a move below the previous peak at $1220 to indicate a new move lower is in store.

In other news Germany’s trade surplus reported a record surplus of 252.9bn euros in 2016. This comes as US President Donald Trump is clamping down on countries the US reports a deficit with – such as Germany and China. Last month US President Donald Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro accused Germany of exploiting a "grossly undervalued" euro to its advantage.

Looking at corporates, Thomas Cook is one of the biggest losers today after its first quarter results disappointed investors. As a consequence, the firm has put up package holiday prices by 9% and sharply increased trips to Greece which are helping to offset the loss of appetite for trips to the likes of Turkey and Egypt which are still incurring losses thank to the impact of political instability and terror attack fears.

Although disappointing the travel group reported that underlying losses of £49 million pounds in the last three months of the year improved by £1 million pounds over the same period the previous year as revenue rose to £1.6 billion from £1.4 billion. Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said a decision to shift capacity towards Greece was paying off, with current bookings up by more than 40%. This is a welcome boost for Greece, as tourism revenue will be very much appreciated given the recent warnings from the IMF that Greece’s debts are on an “explosive” path despite years of austerity measures and economic reforms.

The IMF is calling on Greece’s European creditors to provide “significant debt relief” to the country despite Greece’s EU creditors previously ruling out any further rescue programme until the current one expires in 2018.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Australia’s RBA monetary policy statement as well as China’s latest trade balance report will be released pre-Europe open. Plus, at 09:30GMT there’s the UK’s trade balance, as well as UK industrial & manufacturing production and later in the day NIESR GDP estimate at 15:00 GMT.

The oil markets will be in focus when the US IEA oil market report is released (do you know when?). It will be interesting to see if OPEC members are sticking to its production cut plan and if US oil production is ramping up thanks to higher prices. We’ve already witness the price of Brent drop this week and then recover after data showed the second-largest weekly climb on record for U.S. crude supplies.

--- Written by Katie Pilbeam, DailyFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.