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After months of speculation, France will finally elect its new leader this weekend.

For newbies out there, know that the final battle will be between pro-EU and pro-business Emmanuel Macron and anti-EU, far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen after they snagged the top two spots in the first round of voting last April 23.

Thinking of trading the event? Here are a couple of things you should know:


Overseas voters will start casting their ballots on Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 AM local time (6:00 AM GMT). Meanwhile, voting in the French metropolitan area will start on Sunday, May 7 at 8:00 AM (6:00 am GMT).

There are about 47 million eligible voters and around 70,000 polling stations are set to open on election day.

Polling stations will be open for a maximum of 12 hours, so partial results and polling agency projections will likely print their numbers at around 8 PM local time.

Who will likely win?

If the second Presidential debate, latest polls, and current market price action are any indication, it looks like Macron will secure the highest position in the land.

Read: Short profiles on Macron and Le Pen

As Pip Diddy mentioned in a session recap, media outlets widely cited a poll taken immediately after the second Presidential debate which showed that Macron was viewed by 63% of the people polled as being the more convincing candidate.
Latest French Presidential Elections Polls
Latest polls generally echo the post-debate results with pollsters putting Macron in a comfortable 60% – 40% lead against Le Pen.

Macron’s lead is probably why European markets are trading positively despite the potential market shakeup. iShares MSCI France ETF, which tracks the French stock market, hit a 52-week high yesterday while the Stoxx Euro 600 Index – an index of European stocks from 16 countries – is up by 8.46% so far this year. Last but not the least, the euro is against its major counterparts so far this week.

Don’t discount a Le Pen win!

Before you buy the euro like there’s no tomorrow, you should know that polls and market price action HAVE been wrong before. They’ve been wrong bigly, in fact. Remember the EU referendum and U.S. elections surprises? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

In this case, it’s possible that Le Pen’s supporters are picking Macron in the polls but are planning to vote for her on election day. And then there’s the voter turnout issue, where Macron’s supporters get complacent enough not to show up which turns the odds in favor of Le Pen in the end.

How can you trade the event?

While there’s no cheat sheet to trading events like these, there are several points you need to remember to minimize your risk:

Prepare for extraordinary circumstances

Just days ago the euro showed mean weekend gaps even though polls have more or less predicted Macron and Le Pen’s faceoff in the final elections round.

EUR's Weekend Gaps after First Elections Round
EUR’s Weekend Gaps after First Elections Round

With the pound and dollar’s post-EU referendum and U.S. elections price action fresh in our minds, it’s also better to expect extraordinary trading circumstances.

This means preparing for possible spikes in volatility, weekend gaps, multi-hundred pip moves, and maybe even sharp reversals and/or profit-taking. Time to bring out your trading playbook and consider several strategies!

Take note of other potential catalysts that might affect the major EUR pairs

While France’s elections is the most popular kid in the forex block these days, it’s also worth taking note of other catalysts that might influence the major euro pairs.

The NFP report for April, for example, could make or break the case for the Fed’s recent optimism on the economy. Meanwhile, Theresa May recently made headlines after she accused European leaders of wanting Brexit negotiations to fail.

She said that “The events of the last few days have shown that – whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders – there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed,” even adding that the “misrepresentation” of Britain’s negotiating position has been “deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election.” Talk about bad blood!

Read: Trading the April NFP Report

Consider staying in the sidelines

As we’ve mentioned countless times before, there’s nothing wrong in staying in the sidelines during major events like these. After all, trading is a marathon and not a sprint. Focus on surviving to trade another day!

That’s it for our guide today! Don’t be shy to share if you have any thoughts or tips you’d like to share to your fellow forex traders before the event!