Asian markets on high as leaders congratulate French president-elect
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Asian markets on high as leaders congratulate French president-elect

ASIAN shares have mostly gained while the euro hit a six-month high in response to the victory of centrist Emmanuel Macron over his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election on Sunday.

The 39-year-old, business friendly and pro-European Union Macron emerged as France’s winning candidate, sending share markets such as Japan’s Nikkei, Hong Kong’s HSI, Australia’s ASX 200, and South Korea’s KOSPI higher.

The Nikkei share average hit its highest level since December 2015, recording a 1.68 percent surge in share price. The ASX meanwhile was higher by 0.69 percent. The Shanghai share market decreased slightly.

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Set to become France’s youngest ever president, Macron defeated Le Pen by an unexpectedly wide margin of around 20 percent – gaining 66 percent of the vote compared with just under 34 percent for the National Front candidate.

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Macron on his win, expressing willingness to boost ties between the two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Chinese state media reported that Xi said France was the first major Western country to have established diplomatic relations with communist China. Strengthening China-France relations would benefit not only either country, but global peace, stability and development, said Xi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Macron’s victory “emphatic”, adding that: “I look forward to working closely with President-elect Emmanuel Marcon to further strengthen India-France ties.”

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Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull called Macron’s win “historic”, while New Zealand PM Bill English also expressed his congratulations.

US President Donald Trump also praised Macron’s “big win,” expressing his desire to work together.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an official statement which read: “the victory of President-elect Macron is a symbolic victory against inward-looking and protectionist moves and shows a vote of confidence in the EU.”

Le Pen’s nationalist campaign had threatened to withdraw Europe from the EU if elected, which would have caused further global economic uncertainty after last year’s Brexit vote.

“Political risk in Europe has been considered as a major market theme this year. But in the Netherlands (anti-EU party leader Geert) Wilders lost in March.

The French election is now out of the way,” senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Norihiro Fujito told Reuters.