Macron Magic Endures for Foreign Businesses Despite Domestic Woes

(Bloomberg) -- French voters may have fallen out of love with their leader, but foreign companies are still under the spell of Emmanuel Macron.

For 74 percent of heads of foreign companies in France, the country is an attractive place for business, according to an annual poll of 200 executives by Ipsos. That’s a 14 point improvement on last year and more than twice the 36 percent recorded in the same poll in 2016, before Macron became president.

“A year and a half after the election of Emmanuel Macron, the image of France and its attractiveness remains very high and is even increasing,” Ipsos said.

Macron Magic Endures for Foreign Businesses Despite Domestic Woes

There are also signs homegrown businesses remain confident. After two months of declines, a key indicator of sentiment among manufacturers rose in November. Overall business confidence was stable.

The endorsement of foreign businesses is in stark contrast to how voters view their president. He has a 28 percent approval rating, down from 46 percent at the start of the year and 55 percent at the time of his election.

Three quarters of the business leaders said they had a positive assessment of Macron’s economic reforms and 85 percent said their global headquarters’ image of France had improved in the last 18 months.

Still, there were some signs of impatience. Last year, a majority said reforms were going at the right pace; now 64 percent think the pace is too slow. Business leaders also lowered their expectations for job creation from Macron’s labor market initiatives.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.