U.S. Markets

Dollar rises as euro dips on French election development

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose on Monday, booking gains against the euro after a former French prime minister ruled out standing in the country’s presidential elections, a development seen as likely boosting the chances of anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen.

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Alain Juppe, who served as France’s prime minister from 1995 to 1997, announced earlier Monday he would not seek the country’s presidency.

A poll on Friday showed that if Juppe replaced the scandal-hit Francois Fillon as the center-right candidate, he would likely win the election’s first round, with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron coming second - a scenario that would knock Le Pen out of the race.

Although polling suggests the far-right Le Pen would lose to Macron or Fillon in a run-off, investors are mindful of surprise vote outcomes.

The euro fell 0.35 percent to $1.0584 EUR=, dropping after news of Juppe's decision from a two-week high it touched against the dollar earlier in the day.

Market unease over elections this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands has constrained the euro, despite improving economic readings across the euro zone, analysts said.

“The election drama, as long as that continues it will continue to drive (the euro), to keep it subdued,” said Juan Perez, currency strategist at Tempus Inc in Washington. “So instead of going to $1.07 because of good economic numbers, it stays between $1.05 and $1.06 because of that drama going on behind it.”

The dollar also moved around 0.4 percent higher against the Swiss franc CHF=, Swedish crown SEK= and British pound GBP= on the day.

News that North Korea had fired four ballistic missiles over the weekend and U.S. President Donald Trump’s unverified claims that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had wiretapped his correspondence from Trump Tower spurred buying of the safe-haven yen.

The dollar fell to 113.90 yen JPY=, retreating from Friday's two-week high of 114.74 yen.

After retreating to a one-week low in early European trading, the dollar edged up 0.1 percent against a basket of world currencies .DXY to 101.66.

Editing by Nick Zieminski and Diane Craft