Last week gave us nothing new to ruminate on; it was a week of recycling the same political stories of trade deals, impeachments and elections.
The stock markets around the world reacted favourably to constructive discussions around the ‘phase one’ trade deal between the US and China. We find It interesting to note how the same piece of news can continue elicit positive stock market reactions. The two dark linings to this silver cloud are the proposed 15% tariff hike on $160 billion of imports from China, set for 15th December, and the bill passed by the US Senate that requires the US State Department to annually assess Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The latter has drawn criticism from China, who have threatened retaliation if the bill becomes law, although they have not confirmed in what form the retaliation will take. The former does seem less of a stumbling block and could be used as an important distraction for President Trump, as the impeachment process continues unabated.
Two weeks of impeachment hearings have certainly been damaging for President Trump, with claims from witnesses that he pressured Ukraine to probe his potential political opponents. It is clear the Democrats are keen to impair the presidential election campaign for Trump, but it is also clear that this episode has solidified the Republican support for him.
In the UK, our own general election went up several gears, with televised debates between the main political parties and the launch of their manifestos. Now the dust has settled, not much has changed in the polls. According to YouGov Labour supporters favour Corbyn, while Conservative supporters favour Johnson. Those floating voters remain floating.
Experience has taught us not to make early conclusions, as with past elections and referendums, the polls have been a poor indicator of the actual outcome. We still have 17 campaigning days left until voting day and the doors behind this year’s advent calendar are sure to have some surprises.