2017 has arrived, and already investors are reorganizing their financial portfolios to hedge against possible shocks. Several major geopolitical events occurred in 2016, including the Chinese stock market meltdown in January, the Brexit vote in June, and the surprise victory of Donald Trump in November. These critical events reshaped the financial markets. For example, day traders were able to capitalize on the collapse of the Shenzhen composite index and the Shanghai composite index, by shorting Chinese stocks on Wall Street, the LSE and other European bourses.
Currency traders cashed in on the melee by shorting the CNY against other top-performing G10 currencies. Within weeks, it became apparent that the Chinese economic growth engine was stuttering. Commodities imports to China were drying up an inventory levels were rising. This had an immediate effect on copper demand, iron ore, and other metals. Countries like Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and India all suffered the fallout from the slowdown in China.
Understanding geopolitical events and trading binary options
The Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016 sent shockwaves through the global community. Nobody expected Britons to vote 52%/48% in favour of a break from the European Union. Net short positions on the GBP were evident with binary trading UK brokerages. The GBP went into freefall, from 1.48 to the greenback down to 1.21. The GBP/USD pair plunged to a 31-year low within short order. Traders cashed in on GBP weakness by shorting the currency against the USD, JPY, EUR, and CAD. For the most part, these speculative assessments of the GBP proved correct. That the FTSE 100 index has been able to rally in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is notable. However, the reasons for the rally are found in the weakness of the GBP. Analysts calculated that the double-digit percent gain for the FTSE 100 index is only a low single digit gain when valued in USD, not GBP.
In other words, the bubble effect that we are seeing taking place on the FTSE 100 index is not a true reflection of the performance of the UK economy. It is a result of the currency cross exchange rates. 75% of companies listed on the FTSE 100 index are based outside of the UK. This means that their repatriated earnings are worth more in GBP, with currency cross exchange rates. For traders, the choice is clear: go long on the FTSE 100 index as long as Brexit uncertainty places pressure on the GBP. The fundamentals of the UK economy appear to be sound, especially manufacturing, and this is going to help mitigate any negative effects on the GBP for the short-term. However, if financial companies start relocating from the City of London to Europe, the GBP will falter and manufacturing will fall below the key 50 level (50+ represents growth and 50 – represents contraction).
The Trump effect on trading
Donald Trump is a polarizing figure, but he is the President-elect of the United States of America. His shock victory on November 8, 2016 sent Wall Street markets into the stratosphere. His economic policies include massive fiscal stimulus for infrastructure development. Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild the American military, rebuild infrastructure, and restore American pride.
He plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to do this, and generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. Trump is seen as pro-business, with his tax cut policies (15% or 20% for corporate taxes) and his anti-regulation approach to the corporate sector. The Dow Jones is trading close to 20,000, the S&P 500 index is rallying, as is the NASDAQ composite index. As long as Wall Street indices are in the black, safe haven commodities like gold are no go options for investors.
However, binary options traders are cashing in on gold price weakness with put options on the precious metal. Gold prospers when a risk-off approach is adopted to equities markets, or when geopolitical shocks rock economy. 2017 presents multiple opportunities to profit big the state to the financial markets. The USD, Dow Jones, and FTSE 100 are clearly bullish, while the GBP, EUR and ZAR are on the bearish side.If you liked this post, you can consider subscribing to our free newsletters here