Global markets and world leaders upbeat about Macron victory in French presidential election

President-elect Macron says he wants to unite a divided France Reuters

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has claimed victory in the French presidential election after early exit-poll estimates revealed that he had defeated opponent Marine Le Pen.

Macron's victory helped ease concerns of investors in markets around the world that far-right candidate Le Pen would pull France out of the EU if she won.

The election results pushed the euro to a six-month high against the US dollar. It climbed to $1.02 in early trading, a mild rise as Macron's victory was "priced-in". According to MarketWatch, the euro topped at $1.1023 — 0.2% higher than late Friday in New York.

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"Only a mild positive reaction expected," Lars Henriksson, FX strategist at Handelsbanken in Stockholm, told PoundSterling LIVE.

"Financial markets priced out almost all of the probability of a Le Pen victory following the first round of elections. Consequently, we expect only a mild positive reaction as markets reopen."

Investors in the EU and the eurozone can now rest easy knowing that France will not be exiting either of the two in the next five years with Macron as president.

"With Emmanuel Macron's widely expected victory now confirmed markets can relax about European politics for at least a few weeks," Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy EMEA at State Street Global Markets, said.

Macron, a former investment banker for Rothschild and the youngest president of the Fifth Republic, was able to stem the wave of populism hitting Western countries. The former economic minister under President François Hollande, he established his own party, En Marche!, last year.

US President Donald Trump congratulated Macron on Twitter. "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!"

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also extended his congratulations – in English and French.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May, who faces her own general election on 8 June, tweeted:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn initially tweeted he was happy about Le Pen's defeat before congratulating Macron on his victory a few hours later, the BBC reported.

"I am delighted that the French people have decisively rejected Le Pen's politics of hate," Corbyn said, before adding he looked forward to working with Macron.

According to the BBC, Macron has already spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Macron's aides told AFP the pair had a "very warm exchange" for about 10 minutes over the phone.

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