Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has now begun the process, announcing an impeachment inquiry, which will formalise investigations into the president's actions. Mr Trump faces impeachment proceedings for using his position as president to push the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Mr Biden, who was at the time leading polls to be his Democratic opponent in the 2020 election.
If the House approves a resolution, a trial is then held in the senate, and the chief justice of the US Supreme Court presides. After the trial, the Senate votes on whether to convict the president, a two-thirds majority by the Republican-led Senate is required to remove the president from office. This milestone has never been reached in America's history.
The inquiry centres around a phone call Mr Trump had with the Ukrainian president back in July. One intelligence official was so alarmed by what Mr Trump said that they turned whistle-blower and filed a formal complaint.
On the trade front investors were encouraged by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s announcement that trade talks with China were set to resume on October 7th, however the trade outlook darkened on Friday after reports surfaced that the White House was considering restricting U.S. investment in China and forcing U.S. exchanges to delist the shares (in the form of American Depositary Receipts) of Chinese companies. Shares in Alibaba, Tencent, and other Chinese internet companies fell sharply in response, weighing on the technology sector in particular.
A second source of geopolitical concerns in the Middle East eased this week as oil prices decreased to the levels they were before the mid-September attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production.
Ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline, the battle between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Parliament intensified as the UK’s highest court ruled that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was illegal. Lawmakers reconvened Wednesday with Johnson facing calls to resign just weeks before the UK’s expected departure date from the European Union (EU).
Chinese stocks retreated over the week with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sinking 2.5%, stocks in the U.S. also declined with the Dow Jones (-0.43%), S&P 500 (-1.01%) and Nasdaq (-2.19%) indices all down over the week, whilst the FTSE 100 (+1.1%) bucked the trend ending the week stronger.
Market Moves of the Week
The rand dropped against the U.S. dollar on Friday, knocked by reports that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was weighing new restrictions on China. This coupled with Trump impeachment talk weighed heavily on the rand ending the week at 15.15 versus the dollar, 1.5% weaker over the week. Most emerging market currencies fell against a firmer dollar over the week.
In company news Richemont added 1.28% to R111.17 after the luxury goods company said that it has acquired Italian jewellery company Buccellati from Chinese conglomerate Gangtai Group.
The JSE ended the week lower, with the all-share index falling 2.12%, with industrials (-2.87%), financials (-2.33%) and resource (-1.20%) sectors all weaker.
Chart of the Week
Given that the Republican-controlled Senate would have the final say on any conviction, the chances of it getting over all of the hurdles currently seem low and risk solidifying the president's base, rather than turning it against him. According to a new survey by Marist Poll for NPR and PBS NewsHour, it is predictably tight. 49 percent say they approve of the latest escalation against the president, while 46 registered their disapproval. A crucial 5 percent remain 'unsure'.
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