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Outside the Box: Investors still aren’t taking ‘Frexit’ seriously enough

Over recent weeks, the premium for French government bonds over their German equivalent has widened to its highest level since November 2012. But financial markets still may be underestimating the threat from France’s presidential election scheduled for April and May.

Having failed to anticipate Brexit or Donald Trump’s victory, unchastened pollsters and analysts are confident that the far-right’s National Front’s Marine Le Pen will not become France’s next president. Instead, they believe, Le Pen will make the run-off but be defeated in the second round by a moderate center-right or center-left candidate.

The pundits are relying on history — in 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen (Marine’s father) went through to the second round but was defeated by Jacques Chirac, with the support of his opponents who could not bring themselves to vote for the controversial National Front candidate.

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