Euro advances as Macron is most convincing in French debate

Currency approaches six-week high as anti-euro candidate Le Pen loses ground

The euro rose, approaching a six-week high, as political concerns in the region were seen as easing after a poll showed anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen losing ground in the French presidential debate.

The single currency strengthened against all of its 10 major peers after a poll showed independent candidate Emmanuel Macron emerged as the most convincing of the five contenders in the national debate, ahead of Le Pen.

A combination of macro offers and option-related selling helped the euro-dollar pair gain as the debate added little to risk, according to an Asia-based currency trader (who asked not to be identified because the person isn’t authorised to speak publicly).

The euro has been rising since the European Central Bank, at its meeting this month, was said to have considered the question of raising interest rates before ending its bond-buying programme.

“The retreat in political uncertainty, euro zone’s existing huge current-account surplus and the ECB seemingly tilting toward a more hawkish stance are all contributing to the euro’s firmness,” said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank Ltd in Tokyo. “Buying interest may strengthen as people’s expectations for further easing wane.”

– Bloomberg