The Daily Update - French - Socialist - Primary

This Sunday the French socialists head to the polls in the final round of the nomination of a socialist candidate, a runoff between Benoît Hamon who led the initial round with 36.4 percent of the vote and Manuel Valls who secured 31 percent of the vote.  Arnaud Montebourg who came third (with 17.5 percent of the vote) has urged his supporters to back Benoît Hamon.  The turnout was disappointingly low and this weekend looks unlikely to be much better signifying public disillusionment with the current government’s policies.

Among the more controversial of Hamon’s proposals is the call for a living wage of €750 per month, a reduction in the working week from 35 to 32 hours to adjust to an era of automation and robotics, taxing robots and the legalisation of cannabis.  In the 25 January TV debate, and speaking of Europe, he also said ‘we have to end this 3% deficit dogma’.  The media seems to have taken to brandishing Hamon as the ‘French Jeremy Corbyn’ with predictions suggesting he could come fifth in the first round of the Presidential election.  But Valls’ warnings that Hamon’s ‘illusory proposals’ lack credibility seems to be falling on deaf ears: Following Wednesday’s TV debate 60 percent of viewers rated Hamon as more convincing;  Valls, the former Prime Minister, is clearly being tarnished with the policy failures of the Hollande administration which he served under.

This scenario looks to be positive for the independent candidates Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Macron, the former economy minister for Francois Hollande, resigned in August 2016 to set up his own centrist party has been gaining traction with his En Marche! movement.  Mélenchon has run before in the Presidential Election in 2012 having turned his back on the socialist party in 2008.  He is politically on the hard left with a ‘La France insoumise’ (Unsubmissive France) slogan and is known to be pro a review of European Treaties and ending austerity, he is also against nuclear power.  It remains to be seen whether François Bayrou, a centrist who has run in past elections, will declare and enter the race which could attract voters from the Macron and Fillon camps in particular.

An Ipsos polls poll showed that in the event that Fillon and Le Pen face each other in the final rounds of the Presidential election, 34 percent of Hamon’s supporters would vote for Fillon and 7 percent for Le Pen admittedly with 59 percent not replying.  Vall’s supporters would vote 56 percent for Fillon and 1 percent for Le Pen with 43 percent not replying.  However, that was before the right-wing Republican Presidential Candidate, François Fillon’s, campaign was hit with a scandal over allegations that €500,000 in payments from public funds went to his wife; it is not illegal to hire family members for legitimate roles but reports are questioning what work his wife did to warrant those payments.  Fillon has responded saying the claims were ‘baseless’ and he hoped to be interviewed by the investigators to ‘set out the truth’.  Nevertheless, this is likely to damage his approval ratings and does suggest this Presidential race is likely to be much more open and a close run thing.  Prior to this scandal polls had Le Pen with 26 percent support, Fillon at 25 percent and Macron at 21 percent.  But as Valls noted ‘Fillon has based his campaign on three issues: cutting 500,000 civil service jobs, cutting France’s welfare state, and his propriety,…..I think he does have something to explain.’

Clearly, political risk remains an important consideration for investing in Europe; so far this year the yield on the generic 10 year French OAT has backed up 33 basis points to yield a little over 1 percent.   While France, Germany and the Netherlands, where elections are being held this year, all tick the box as creditor nations, they fall short in in terms of our value screens for eligible credits which does at least make the risk easy to contain.

Please read this important information before proceeding. It contains legal and regulatory notices relevant to the information on this site.

This website provides information about Stratton Street Capital LLP ("Stratton Street"). Stratton Street is authorised and regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. The content of this website has been prepared by Stratton Street from its records and is believed to be accurate but we do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information of any views expressed herein. The information, material and content provided in the pages of this website may be changed at any time by us. Information on this website may be out of date and may not be updated or removed.

The website is provided for the main purpose of providing generic information on Stratton Street and on our investment philosophy for the use of financial professionals in the United Kingdom that qualify as Professional Clients or Eligible Counterparties under the rules of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"). The information in this website is not intended for the use of and should not be relied on by any person who would qualify as a Retail Client. Products and services referred to on this website are offered only at times when, and in jurisdictions where, they may be lawfully offered. The information on this website is not directed to any person in the United States. The provision of the information on this website does not constitute an offer to purchase securities to any person in the United States (other than a professional fiduciary acting for the account of a non-U.S person) or to any U.S. person as such term is defined under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

The website is not intended to offer investors the opportunity to invest in any Alternative Investment Fund ("AIF") product. The AIFs managed by Stratton Street are not being marketed in the European Economic Area ("EEA") and any eligible potential investor from the EEA who wishes to obtain information on the AIFs will only be provided with materials upon receipt by Stratton Street of an appropriate reverse solicitation request in accordance with the requirements of the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD") and national law in their home jurisdiction. By proceeding you confirm that you are not accessing this website in the context of a potential investment by an EEA investor in the AIFs managed by Stratton Street and that you have read, understood and agree to these terms.

No information contained in this website should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. The website should not be relied upon as including sufficient information to support any investment decision. If you are in doubt as to the appropriate course of action we recommend that you consult your own independent financial adviser, stockbroker, solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up. An application for any investment or service referred to on this site may only be made on the basis of the offer document, key features, prospectus or other applicable terms relating to the specific investment or service.

Where we provide hypertext links to other locations on the Internet, we do so for information purposes only. We are not responsible for the content of any other websites or pages linked to or linking to this website. We have not verified the content of any such websites. Such websites may contain products and services that are not authorised in your jurisdiction. Following links to any other websites or pages shall be at your own risk and we shall not be responsible or liable for any damages or in other way in connection with linking.

By using this site, you should be aware that we may disclose any information that we hold about you to any regulatory authority to which we are subject, or to any person legally empowered to require such information.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, by clicking the "I Accept" button below means you consent to the use of cookies on our website.