Global markets dip as US House votes to impeach Donald Trump - GulfToday

Global markets dip as US House votes to impeach Donald Trump


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Associated Press

Global stock markets mostly dipped on Thursday after the US House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump and the central banks of Japan and Britain kept their interest rates low.

The London stock index was up slightly while Frankfurt, London and Shanghai were little changed and Tokyo retreated. Wall Street futures were stable ahead of the open.

The House vote sends Trump’s case to the Senate for trial. Republicans who control the Senate say they plan to acquit him.

Trump is accused of abusing his office by pressing the government of Ukraine to investigate a potential political rival ahead of next year’s presidential election. He also is accused of obstructing efforts by Congress to investigate that allegation.

The outcome will be “greater polarization, and a rapid Senate dismissal of the charges made in the House, and then even greater polarization,” Rabobank said in a report.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up less than 0.1% at 7,541 and Frankfurt’s DAX was down 0.6% at 13,148. France’s CAC 40 shed 0.2% to 5,946.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat.

The S&P closed up Wednesday less than 0.1% while the Dow dropped 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1% to a record.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,017.07 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3% to 23,864.85. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 0.3% to 27,800.49.

Seoul’s Kospi was off 2 points at 2,195.56 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.3% to 6,833.10.

The Bank of Japan left its short-term policy rate unchanged at -0.1% and its target for 10-year government bond yields at 0%. The Bank of England also left its key rate unchanged, at 0.75%, as it monitors the impact of Brexit on the economy.

Benchmark US crude lost 3 cents to $60.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 2 cents on Wednesday to close at $60.85. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 7 cents to $66.10 per barrel in London. It added 7 cents the previous session to $66.17.

Gold eased on Thursday as optimism surrounding US-China trade ties offset support from political uncertainty stemming from the US House of Representatives’ vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Spot gold dipped 0.1% to $1,474.34 per ounce as of 1326 GMT. US gold futures were unmoved at $1,478.20. “We do have optimism over the phase one trade deal,” said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga.

“Until we have anything new in the picture, gold is going to continue trading within a tight range... Resistance (lay) around the $1,480 level and support around $1,465.” China on Thursday announced a new list of import tariff exemptions for six chemical and oil products from the United States, days after the world’s two largest economies announced an interim trade deal. Until all existing tariffs are fully rolled back, concerns about slowing global growth are going to remain a major theme supporting gold prices, Otunuga added. The tariff dispute has weighed on economic growth worldwide and hurt business investment and confidence, largely fuelling bullion’s near 15% rise this year. Investors also kept a close eye on political proceedings in Washington, where the Democratic-led House of Representatives formally charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a historic step that will inflame partisan tensions across a deeply divided America.

However, the Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected not to convict Trump and remove him from office. If the US Senate convicts Trump, “which would be unexpected, that throws next year’s election into a very uncertain place,” Ilya Spivak, a senior currency strategist at DailyFx said, adding the resultant aversion towards riskier asset could benefit gold. The yellow metal is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty. Although the reaction to the impeachment was largely muted, world stocks drifted down from the week’s record highs, while the US dollar eased slightly against a basket of currencies. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.3% to 883.29 tonnes on Wednesday. Elsewhere, palladium was flat at $1,922.63 an ounce. Prices of the autocatalyst metal hit an all-time peak of $1,998.43 on Tuesday, within a whisker of breaking above $2,000 for the first time due to a gaping supply deficit.

Copper prices hovered near seven-month highs on Thursday, buoyed by optimism about Chinese growth and demand and progress in the prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.3% at $6,192 a tonne at 1129 GMT, a gain of more than 12% since the two-year low of $5,518 hit in September. Prices of the metal used by investors as a gauge of economic health hit $6,223 a tonne earlier this week, the highest since May 8.

“Some pretty solid data from China illustrates the improving outlook and people are more hopeful about the trade situation,” a metals industry source said. “It’s not a completely risk-on environment, but things do seem to be improving.”


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