This was a long weekend to many countries around the world, as Christians celebrated Easter. The following were the biggest market events.
Sri Lanka Easter Bombings
In Sri Lanka, almost 300 people, including several Americans died in Catholic church bombings. More than 400 were injured. This was the worst violence in the country since the civil war ended more than ten years ago. The coordinated bombs targeted a number of churches like St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church, and Zion Church. Other areas targeted were hotels like Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. The bombings come at a time when religious tensions around the world are increasing.
In Ukraine, the run-off between comedian Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko took place yesterday. In a rebuke to the establishment, the people decided to vote for Volodymr Zelensky to become the next president. He received more than 70% of the vote, ending Poroshenko’s tenure, which saw Russia annex part of the country. While there is joy in the country following Zelensky’s vote, it will likely be short-lived as the hard work to govern starts.
Last year, the US imposed tough sanctions on Iran. These sanctions led to a sharp reduction on the amount of oil produced by the country. At the same time, the US gave major waivers to a number of countries to continue buying crude from the country. China, India, Turkey, and Japan were among the countries granted waivers and were expected to renew them. This may soon end as US commits itself to bringing the amount of crude oil exports from Iran to zero. In response, the price of crude jumped by 2% in early trading today. Already, Greece, Italy, and Taiwan, which were given waivers have already cut their imports to zero.
Over the weekend, Democrats appeared to be torn between trying to impeach Donald Trump or to let the country decide his fate in the next election. While a good number of Democrats have called for impeachment proceedings, the leadership led by Nancy Pelosi have avoided the topic. The leaders believe that the president’s approval ratings will rise if congress impeaches him and senate fails to remove him. A number of democratic analysts have called for the leaders to start impeachment regardless of whether the senate will send the president home. As the 2020 election nears, the political tensions in the US may continue to increase.
Over the weekend, investors around the world read about the horror’s facing Carlos Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan. Ghosn is currently locked up in a Tokyo detention facility. He gets no family visits and spend almost 24 hours a day in his jail cell. He is allowed to have a cold shower 2 times per week. In weekends or public holidays, he remains in jail for 24-hours a day. These horrors have sent shockwaves to foreign companies doing business in the country. In the long-term, this could lower the business confidence in the country and affect the economy.