French firms to delay investments if left wins polls: survey

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French firms to delay investments if left wins polls: survey

Almost six out of 10 heads of small and medium-sized French companies plan to delay investments and hiring if the left-wing coalition wins snap elections, a survey showed Thursday.

A third of them, or 36 percent, say they would do the same if the far-right National Rally (RN) triumphs in the polls, according to the Confederation of Small and Medium Companies (CPME).

But they appear more worried about the prospect of victory for the New Popular Front, which includes the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) group, with 58 percent saying they would put investments and recruitment on hold.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to dissolve parliament and hold snap elections, which will be held over two rounds on Sunday and July 7, has raised jitters in the markets.

Opinion polls suggest voters could hand the RN of Marine Le Pen more than 32 percent support, with the NFP at 30 percent and Macron’s centrist group well behind at around 20 percent.

The CPME survey showed that only 12 percent of heads of businesses would postponed investments if the centrists win.

The confederation surveyed 1,066 company chiefs between June 20 and June 24.

The CPME represents 239,000 small and medium-sized companies that together employ three million people.

The survey showed its members worry about the NFP’s proposal to raise minimum wage, with a quarter saying it would lead of layoffs and half saying they would pass the costs on to consumers.

A great majority, 82 percent, are against proposals made by both the NFP and the RN to lower the retirement age.

And 78 percent warn that increasing public spending, as the RN and NFP have suggested, would risk sending France into bankruptcy and placing the country “under IMF guardianship”.

A second survey, also published Thursday, found a drop from the previous month in the confidence of entrepreneurs in the outlook of their business, from 73 to 68 percent.

The CCI France poll of 1,020 entrepreneurs in mid-June found that confidence in the outlook of the French economy dropped by five percentage points to 19 percent.