Donald Trump has stunned America, and the world. The bombastic property mogul, riding a wave of populist resentment, has defeated Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States. In a victory speech, he pledged to “bind the wounds of division” in America. Trump will become commander-in-chief of the world’s sole true superpower on January 20.
The election results prompted a global market sell-off, with stocks plunging across Asia and Europe and billions being wiped off the value of investments. Sectors that depend heavily on global trade, including Asia’s car manufacturers and IT service providers, were heavily hit. Defence and gold mining, however, bucked the trend. Gold soared as a safe haven play, while investors eyed defence stocks across the world as a US presidential administration looked set to increase military spending and ask other nations to shoulder a greater share of regional security expenses.
India’s stock markets were hit by a double whammy: the shockwaves from Donald Trump’s victory were compounded by prime minister Narendra Modi’s surprise decision to pull Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes from circulation. Investors were unnerved by the move, with Sensex and Nifty, the country’s benchmark indices, both falling as much as 4%. The move was designed to flush billions of dollars worth of cash in unaccounted-for wealth into the mainstream economy, and to hit the finances of Islamist militants. However most small businesses – which drive 40% of the Indian economy – are heavily dependent on cash.
Beijing is not smiling: the Chinese leadership see the ongoing surge in coal prices as a threat to the broader economy. A dramatic coal price spike is the most obvious driver of October’s 1.2% rise in the country’s Producer Price Index and 2.1% rise in its Consumer Price Index. A rebound in industrial prices is generally interpreted as a sign of improving economic conditions, but soaring fuel costs are not good news for factories.