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Trump, the continuation of the Brexit trend?

It’s going to take a while for financial markets to absorb yet another shock to what has been a tempestuous year for global investors, particularly with the Brexit surprise still fresh in the memory.

Yet again the opinion pollsters have got the final outcome massively wrong, only this time markets were slightly more prepared for it, hence the more modest reaction to the fact that Donald Trump has become the 45th 'President of the United States of America'.

What this year's events have taught us is that the status quo is no longer acceptable to a lot of local populations, and with Brexit and now Trump, the direction of travel could well offer ominous signs for the future of Europe going forward.

This howl against the so-called establishment could well encourage the similar growing movements currently gaining ground in Europe, in Italy, France, Holland and to a lesser extent Germany, all of which face political challenges in the coming months.

The temptation would be for European leaders to coalesce around their default position of more Europe, and this could be a mistake, as this is precisely what people are pushing back against.

It has been said that Brexit was a wakeup call for the so-called global elites, and yet the same thing is now being said about the surprise election of Donald Trump.

This would appear to suggest that the message isn't getting through to these elites and that today's events could mark the beginning of a trend or populist backlash. If that is the case then the upcoming events in Europe could mark the next stage in this trend and prompt real concerns about the future cohesiveness of the EU itself.

For now, the election of Donald Trump poses questions around the future of US economic and foreign policy, as well as how he sees the oversight of the US economy. Mr Trump has already been highly critical of the Fed's policy of low interest rates and loose monetary policy, which could place question marks over the future of Fed chair Janet Yellen, along with some of her colleagues like Lael Brainard, who was a key Clinton supporter.

Given how little political experience Mr Trump has he will need to tread carefully, particularly since financial markets continue to show signs of being fairly brittle, which means we could find that the Fed may have to hold back on a rate rise next month.

There is also a question of what Mr Trump's presidency means for Obamacare; will it survive, and what will he replace it with given that the Republicans now control both Congress and the Senate. This is likely to place a lot of scrutiny over the US pharmaceutical sector, particularly at a time when there are huge concerns about their pricing policies. 

In his campaign speeches Mr Trump was highly critical of free trade, and the loss of huge numbers of US manufacturing jobs, but he was also critical of a tax system that encouraged US companies to hoard large amounts of US dollars overseas due to the high levels of US tax rates, and this appears to have struck a chord with higher earners.

His first problem will be to pull the country back together again after one of the most divisive election campaigns in living memory. The reality is no one can say with any certainty what type of president Donald Trump will be, and for that reason alone any policy misstep has the capacity to introduce high levels of uncertainty and volatility into the movements of financial markets in the weeks and months ahead.
 


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