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It has been a tumultuous week for equity markets with the MSCI All Country World Index sinking to an eight month low on Thursday morning. Although preceded by four consecutive down days, the sell-off truly gathered momentum on Wednesday when the S&P 500 suffered its largest one-day fall since February.
Politics once again dominated the direction of financial markets this week. It began with news that Donald Trump’s administration had successfully renegotiated Canada’s involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement, with Canada agreeing to a number of concessions, in return for avoiding onerous tariffs on its vehicle exports to the US. White House officials are now of the view that the renegotiated agreement hands Trump more power in his battle with China.
Two weeks ago was the tenth anniversary of the insolvency of Lehman Brothers Bank in the US. This was not the cause of the Great Financial Crisis, nor was it the first symptom – Northern Rock in the UK went bust several months earlier.
This week began with further escalations in US-China trade tensions. At the start of the week, President Trump announced tariffs on a further $200billion worth of Chinese imports to be implemented from next Monday. The measures are set to take effect at a rate of 10%, before ramping up to 25% at the beginning of 2019.