Republican candidate Donald Trump appears close to defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election. His pledges to add huge tariffs to Chinese imports and renegotiate long-standing trade deals have made him deeply unpopular with investors and economists worldwide, and the poll results are wreaking havoc on world markets and currencies, especially the US dollar.
In Asia, a positive open quickly turned around, with Japan, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong’s major indices turning starkly negative by 10:45am in Hong Kong (9:45 pm EST).
The US’s reputation as the “best house in a bad neighborhood” in recent years has meant that money has flowed into US financial assets from abroad, and investors sold off heavily in futures trading on concern that Trump could take the White House.
The US dollar plunged against the Japanese yen:
The Korean won also nosedived. Trump has harshly criticized 2012 free trade deals Obama made with the country, which is heavily reliant on the US as an export market. He also called for Seoul to pay the full cost for the 28,000 US troops stationed there, and threatened a full withdrawal.
The Mexican peso, which has served as proxy for a Clinton victory because of Trump’s pledges to “build a wall” between the US and Mexico, has strengthened in the past day, but took a nosedive as Trump’s chances improved, falling nearly 10%.