French and Riviera News Tuesday 22nd March 2022


Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna has died - Corsican nationalist activist Yvan Colonna has died from his injuries following an attack in prison by a fellow inmate.  The Corsican independence activist was serving a life sentence for the assassination of the prefect Claude Erignac back in 1998. Colonna had always claimed his innocence following his arrest in July 2003.

Ukrainian refugees - The Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has said that just over 12,100 Ukrainian refugees have passed through the La Turbie toll booths on the A8 motorway since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Speaking on France Bleu Bernard Gonzalez said that the services of the Alpes-Maritimes Prefecture have been mobilized to issue residence permits to the large number of refugees arriving in the department.

850 million euros of assets seized - Meanwhile France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced that France has seized around 850 million euros of Russian oligarchs’ assets. Le Maire added that authorities have immobilised 539 million euros in real estate on French territory, corresponding to some 390 properties and sequestered two yachts with a value of 150 million euros.

Presidential elections - According to the latest opinion poll of voting intentions from the Elabe Institute Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron remains in the lead, despite a notable setback. Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon continue their progression, while Éric Zemmour and Valérie Pécresse lose points. After a sharp rise two weeks ago (8.5%), Emmanuel Macron is down for the second week in a row. He is now credited with 27.5% of the vote, down 3.5 points from our poll last week.

Meanwhile the candidate of the National Rally Marine Le Pen, who retains second place in voting intentions in the first round, is progressing for the second consecutive week. With +2% in one week, she is now credited with 20% of the votes. 65% of people who voted for her in 2017 would vote for her again, which corresponds to an increase of 3% in one week.

Latest regional covid figures - Latest regional figures for covid have shown that the incidence rate in the PACA region remains slightly lower than the incidence rate nationwide, with 683 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 687 throughout France.  The incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes has been rising steadily since March 3rd, 2022, with the number of hospitalizations experiencing a slight increase. Also, over the past 7 days, the Alpes-Maritimes has experienced 20 new deaths from covid. Since the start of the epidemic, 2,261 people have died of covid in hospitals in the Alpes-Maritimes. In the Var where the incidence rate has risen sharply in recent days the number of hospitalizations is down with 25 new hospital admissions. Only one person was admitted to intensive care, which represents a drop of more than 50% in one week. Over the past seven days the Var has experienced 22 new deaths from covid. Since the start of the epidemic, 2,276 people have died of covid in hospitals in the department.

In Monaco 48 new cases of covid were identified on Monday bringing the total number of people affected to 10,175. Twelve people are currently in hospital and 152 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre. The Monaco government is organizing a new large-scale covid screening campaign in the Principality's schools. Several thousand self-tests are being made available to the entire educational community including teachers, non-teachers and students. The aim is to allow as many people as possible to test themselves.


Asian markets have risen this morning with miners, banks and energy stocks leading the way as investors braced for aggressive US rate hikes and further disruption to oil supplies. Oil has risen by more than 3 percent this morning while the dollar has firmed and Treasuries extended losses after Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned of more aggressive monetary policy tightening than previously anticipated. While investors appear to have digested the fact that central banks will be raising interest rates, Mr Powell sparked a rout on bond markets overnight after he told the US National Association for Business Economics that the central bank was prepared to “do what it takes” to control inflation and that “bigger than usual” rate hikes would be deployed if necessary.

US futures are down this morning while benchmark 10 year Treasury yields hit a near three-year high of 2.3330 percent. The Chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that the central bank will have to move “expeditiously” and possibly “more aggressively” to raise interest rates to prevent the upward spiral in prices from becoming entrenched. In a keynote speech to the US National Association of Business Economics on Monday, Jerome Powell said that the labour market is very str