While Asian stock market indices were mixed on Monday (23 January), the Shanghai Composite was up 0.34% at 3,133.61 as of 4am GMT. This followed Donald Trump's inauguration speech on Friday (20 January) that had a protectionist tone.
On Friday, the 45<sup>th president of the US said he would focus on laying two simple rules — buy American and hire American. He said this would end the carnage of rusted American factories and protect jobs in the country.
Trump had further said that the first step of this trade strategy would begin with the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between 12 Pacific-rim countries such as Japan, Australia and Mexico. On Sunday he said he intended to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with Mexico and Canada.
Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, was cited by CNBC as saying "[Trump's speech revealed an] inward-looking and protectionist U.S., extolling 'only America first' policies on trade, taxes, immigration and on foreign affairs." This protectionist view of Trump is said to have led to concerns among investors over global trade growth.
Going forward, analysts have opined that the recent bull run amid Trump's tax cut and infrastructure spending promises could end. "The market is getting nervous about the possibility that the world's trade might shrink...Many of his policies, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending, need approval from the Senate and that (may not be) easy. The markets that had been led by expectations on his policy since the election are now dragged down by the reality," Koichi Yoshikawa, executive director of financial markets at Standard Chartered Bank was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Indices in the region were trading as follows at 4.29am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||22,898.96||Up||0.06%|
On 20 January, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.14% lower at 7,198.44, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.34% higher at 2,271.31.
Among commodities, oil prices were mixed following Opec and non-Opec producers saying they had successfully kept to their recent production cut promises. As of 4.41am GMT, WTI Crude Oil was trading 2.04% higher at $52.42 (£42.19) a barrel, while Brent Crude was trading 0.11% lower at $55.43 a barrel.