In the previous articles, we have seen that how elections, budget and crucial geopolitical situations like war and a surgical strike can impact the Indian financial markets and economy. This article states the broader aspects with regards to international affairs like Presidential elections, changes in policy, the economic crisis of a country and how it has the potential to affect India.

The US and North Korea: A war of words:

In the last year, we have seen a lot of ‘word wars’ between the United States and North Korea, that has not only created concern for the global peace but also created a situation of panic for the global financial markets and economies. Considering the size of United States, it contributes around 25% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and any involvement in a war by the U.S is obviously going to hurt its economy as well the countries related to the U.S, which counts for most of the countries in the world, directly or indirectly.

North Korean threats are not only for the U.S but also hovers around South Korea and Japan. A hydrogen bomb attack of North Korea on South Korea can vanish the existence of the South Korean economy. South Korean economy accounts for around 1.9% of the world’s GDP and an attack on it can take years to rebuild the nation and thus can impact its trading partners.

The sense of conflicts amongst the investors creates the fear that it is likely to reduce global growth and thus they sell off their shares, especially the stake in the emerging equity markets around the Korean regime. They start investing in safe-haven assets like gold, which they can easily liquidate and often the value of such assets increase in wartime due to a shift in the investment scenario.

 

India’s reaction:

Talking about the connection of this word war with India is also interesting. India is Pyongyang’s second largest trading partner, with its total trade increasing to $800 billion in 2011-12 from $1 billion in 2009. However, in April last year, India agreed to abide the sanctions put on North Korea by the United Nations (UN). India announced that there would be a ban on all military, police and scientific training to North Korean officials in India, along with a ban on all the support or trade that intentionally or unintentionally helps the North Korean regime in nuclear or missile development projects.

In the global fear of war, the Indian market was not an exception; with the news of North Korea testing its hydrogen missile, Indian stock market fell by 1%. The BSE Sensex and Nifty lost 189.98 and 61.55 points respectively. Indian volatility index raised by 19% reaching to 13.96. In addition to that, the Asian market also lost 1% on that news.

 

The US presidential elections:

This one stands to be very much important as on 8th November 2016, the day the U.S got Donald Trump as the President was also the day when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the anti-black money move of demonetisation.

There was neck-to-neck competition between the two candidates. In the earlier poll results, people anticipated Hillary Clinton to win but the D-day changed the math with a very narrow gap between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Market sentiment discounts everything with a price and something unexpected like this was a huge shock for investors, as already Trump had quite a hawkish stand on its ‘America First’ stance, which was viewed negatively by the global investors. As a result, the market started selling off in the early trade sessions and the Indian market was again no exception.

The Sensex hit the intraday low of 25,902, which was 6% lower than the previous session’s closing. Asian markets also slumped and S&P 500 futures lost around 5%, hitting lower at 2,028. In addition to that, as per the data of a leading news agency, the dollar index also lost around 2% and the Indian currency got weaker against the dollar. The haven investment instrument gold once again gained 5% on that day, through the same sentiments of it being safer and capable of being easily liquidated.

 

The turning point for the market:

The Sensex, after trembling down by 1,688 points, with the news of Donald Trump being the new American President recovered and closed just 338.61 points down and the Nifty closed low by only 111.55 points on that day.

There were two things that could have worked behind this uptick recovery of the market; the first one was that the uncertainty behind the Presidential race which was over, and the other was the long-term benefits of the note ban. Eradication of black money was a positive move for the Indian economy for the long run, and hence it proved to be stronger than the short-term issues that people were facing, which could be the potential behind the market recovery.

P.S- This article was originally published in The Qrius ( Formally The Indian Economist.)

By Devanshee Dave

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