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Global Markets Roiled as Trump Takes Lead in Election Vote Count

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  • Global Markets Roiled as Trump Takes Lead in Election Vote Count

Global markets were thrown into disarray as results from the U.S. election indicated that Donald Trump may prevail over Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, shocking traders who had focused on polls in recent days showing the opposite.

Panicked investors rushed to unwind bets they’d piled on amid predictions Clinton would sweep to victory, fueling demand for haven assets. Futures on the S&P 500 Index plunged by a 5 percent limit that triggers trading curbs and Asian shares sank by the most since the aftermath of Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union. Mexico’s peso had its steepest plunge since 2008 on concern a Trump win would lead to more protectionist U.S. trade policies. Gold jumped by the most since Brexit, surging with the yen and sovereign bonds.

Based on the states that have been called, Trump had 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim the White House and Clinton had collected 215, while the Republicans were also on track to retain control of Congress. A Trump victory, buttressed by electoral gains from Florida to Ohio, had been portrayed by analysts as having the potential to unhinge markets that were banking on a continuation of policies that coincided with the second-longest bull market in S&P 500 history. Brexit was the last major political shock and led to the S&P 500 sliding 5.3 percent in two days.

“With more votes being counted and it looking more and more like Trump will actually get in, the market’s having a massive dive,” said Karl Goody, a private wealth manager at Shaw and Partners Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees about A$10 billion ($7.6 billion). “This has caught a lot of people off guard. We’re all very surprised.”

Most polls showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump going into the vote and websites that took bets on the victor had put the Democrat’s odds of winning at 80 percent or more. Trump pledged to clamp down on immigration to the U.S. and renegotiate free-trade agreements with countries including Mexico.

Among key moves in financial markets:

  • S&P 500 Index futures slide as much as 5 percent
  • FTSE 100 Index futures drop 3.4 percent
  • MSCI Asia Pacific Index drops 2.6 percent
  • Mexican peso tumbles as much as 12 percent, breaching 20 per dollar for first time
  • Japanese yen climbs versus all major currencies
  • Euro, Swiss franc rise at least 1.7 percent
  • Gold jumps 3.1 percent, most since Brexit
  • Crude oil slides 2.5 percent
  • 10-year U.S. Treasury yield drops five basis points to 1.80 percent

Stocks

S&P 500 futures tumbled by the maximum 5 percent loss permitted on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before trading curbs are triggered, and were down 4.3 percent as of 3:20 p.m. Tokyo time. The restrictions last came into force in the wake of the Brexit vote and set a floor price for the contracts through the remainder of the overnight trading session.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down more than 2 percent, with benchmarks in India, Japan and New Zealand posting the biggest declines in the region.

“If Trump becomes president and both the House and Senate are Republican, he can do whatever he likes,” said Norihiro Fujito, a Tokyo-based senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “We’re in the midst of a violent unwinding of positions globally as investors deal with an unexpected, risk-off situation.”

Currencies

Mexico’s peso plunged to a record low of 20.7818 per dollar, and was the worst performer among currencies worldwide. Other higher-yielding currencies sank, with South Africa’s rand weakening 3.1 percent and South Korea’s won down 1.1 percent.

“This would be the biggest political upset in living memory,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at London-based World First U.K. Ltd. “The significance is almost unquantifiable.”

Currencies viewed as havens strengthened, with the yen climbing 2.6 percent and the Swiss franc gaining 1.6 percent.

Bonds

Treasuries rallied as traders saw the likelihood of the Federal Reserve interest-rate increase in December dwindling to less than 50 percent, based on overnight indexed swaps. The yield on the 10-year note declined four basis points to 1.82 percent. Its daily trading range — 0.18 percentage point — was the largest since June 24, the day after the Brexit vote.

“It’s looking increasingly likely that he’s got this,” said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist in Newark, New Jersey, for the fixed-income division of Prudential Financial Inc. “We’re seeing the market scramble, we’re seeing fear of trade war seeping into Treasury prices.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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