Macron’s Call for Elections in France Adds to Fears of Financial Woes

Investors made clear on Tuesday the depth of their concerns over President Emmanuel Macron’s gamble to call for new elections in France, driving up the nation’s borrowing costs, pushing down stock prices and prompting the Moody’s ratings agency to warn it may downgrade French sovereign debt as risks of political instability rise.

Mr. Macron’s dissolution of the lower house of Parliament on Sunday after his party was battered by Marine Le Pen’s far-right party in European Parliament elections has ignited concerns that the government could grind to a stalemate. The turmoil has focused attention on France’s fragile finances, and the prospect of legislative gridlock that could undermine the government’s ability to address it.

“This decision will not ease the economic challenges facing the country,” Philippe Ledent, senior economist at ING Bank, wrote in a note to clients. Public finances and the performance of the French economy will be “at the heart of the electoral campaign,” he added.

As the head of France’s conservative party on Tuesday called for an alliance with the far right to beat back Mr. Macron ahead of two rounds of national voting that will start on June 30, investors punished French stocks, sending the Paris Bourse down 1.33 percent, after a sharp fall on Monday.

The yield on France’s 10-year government bonds rose sharply for a second day amid investor unease over France’s ability to manage its finances. Bond yields are indicative of the government’s borrowing costs, and elevated levels would make it harder to stimulate the economy and manage the country’s debt.

France is suddenly facing uncharted territory. The prospect that Ms. Le Pen’s party, the National Rally, could triumph in the hastily called legislative elections — which could weaken Mr. Macron’s grip on power and possibly force him to govern with a prime minister from his political opposition — risks piling economic havoc atop the political toll.

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