By Shane McGinley
French President-elect defeats Nicolas Sarkozy with 52% of vote
UAE president HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a congratulatory cable to Francois Hollande on his election as president of France, according to the WAM news agency.
Sheikh Khalifa wished Hollande success in his new post, it added.
The euro fell to a three-month low after Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president of France and as Greek voters flocked to anti-bailout parties, stoking concern austerity efforts in Europe may be derailed.
Hollande got about 52 percent of the vote in the French presidential election against about 48 percent for incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, according to estimates by four pollsters.
“The Hollande victory was largely expected, but it does act as a trigger to increase demand for the dollar,” said Sebastien Galy, a senior foreign-exchange strategist at Societe Generale SA in New York.
Hollande’s platform calls for policies German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes, including increased spending and delayed deficit cuts. He used his campaign to call for an activist European Central Bank, defying Germany. Merkel telephoned Hollande to congratulate him and to invite him for talks in Berlin “as soon as possible,” according to a statement from her government.
Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union recorded its lowest share of the vote since 1950 in the northern state of Schleswig- Holstein. It placed first with 30.9 percent support, while coalition partner the Free Democratic Party slumped to 8.2 percent, according to ZDF television projections. That’s not enough for a rerun of their CDU-FDP coalition.
The 17-nation euro slid for a sixth day, its longest series of losses since September 2011, Bloomberg said.
Austerity measures aimed at stemming Europe’s debt woes have driven economies from the Netherlands to Spain back into recession, emboldening politicians campaigning for growth. The elections took place as 386 billion euros ($501bn) of emergency loans for Greece, Ireland and Portugal and a focus on deficit reduction failed to stem a sovereign-debt crisis.
The euro has declined 0.3 percent over the past month, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes tracking ten developed-nation currencies. The dollar has risen 0.7 percent and the yen has advanced 3.3 percent, the indexes show.
In Greece, New Democracy won 20 percent of the total vote with more than half of the ballots from yesterday’s elections counted, according to the Interior Ministry website. Socialist Pasok, which partnered with New Democracy in securing a second rescue package for the country, trailed in third place with 42 seats. Official projections predicted the two would fall one short of the 151 seats needed to win a majority.
“Very few nations can stand austerity,” Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management Asia Ltd, which oversees about $10bn, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The euro has to fall a lot more in order to cushion the austerity programmes.”