2nd September 2019
It does not happen often that market-moving news emerges after we have finished writing The Cambridge Weekly. Last week proved to be an exception. Having just commented on how politics and the prospect of fiscal easing by US and European governments had been taken positively by markets, Donald Trump released a Twitter tantrum which some have likened to him “livestreaming his own meltdown”. The reason this specific tirade caused one of the largest and sharpest falls in the US stock market this year (the Dow Jones fell intraday by as much as 700 points, after markets had largely come to ignore his periodic outbursts), was because he announced further substantial tariff hikes against China.
Boris Johnson forces opponents to ‘put up or shut up’
“May you live in interesting times” is the apocryphal Chinese Curse. Just when we thought the Brexit tension could not get any higher, politicians find a way to surprise us. Boris Johnson’s announcement that parliament will be suspended for five weeks leading up to mid-October – severely reducing the time to hold the government to account over its exit plan – has done just that. When he won the Conservative party leadership election and assumed the position of prime minister, he boldly declared that Britain would leave the EU on 31st October “do or die”. Now, as we race towards the deadline with parliament seemingly unable to intervene, it looks like we might do so with the brakes cut.
Salvini’s Italian Gambit backfires
In a week like this, it is easy to feel as though Brexit is the only issue on people’s minds – both here and across the English Channel. But as ever, politicians are often too preoccupied with their own (and their country’s – hopefully) problems to worry about what is happening across borders. For European politicians, however, there is one country whose successive recalcitrant governments have repeatedly led to showdowns and headache-inducing confrontations. And it is not Britain. For years now, that prize has gone to Italy, the Eurozone’s third largest economy and a founding member of the EU.