Last week, the biggest talk in financial media was on the escalation between Washington and Moscow. This followed a chemical attack in Syria which left more than 40 people dead.
Following the attack, Washington responded by promising an attack in Syria. On the other hand, Moscow threatened to shoot down any missiles fired by the US in Syria. By mid of the week, the tensions dissipated when Trump sent a tweet backing down from his earlier tweet. However, on Friday night, things changed when the US, UK, and France sent more than 100 missiles to Syria. These attacks focused on the Syrian regime’s laboratories and other major facilities.
Yesterday, the escalation between US and Russia continued when Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN promised to bring more sanctions to Russia for supporting the Syrian regime. These sanctions are expected to be signed later today. On the other hand, Russia is preparing its own sanctions on the US with a major focus on the aeronautical sector. If the tariffs go in place, major US companies like Boeing and General Electric could be hit significantly.
As the news evolved, so did the price of crude oil. Investors believed that the escalation may continue and therefore potentially lead to disruption in the crude oil market. As such, oil reached a three-year high of more than $73 (WTI) while Brent rose to more than $68 a barrel.
Another major issue that happened during the weekend was the escalation in the Mueller probe. This is a probe that has been going on for more than 12 months. He is investigating the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians during the campaign. He is also investigating the alleged obstruction of justice when Trump asked Comey to halt the investigation to former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
Over the weekend, former FBI director made headlines because of the new book he is promoting. He has published a book that describes his interactions with Donald Trump. His interview gave people his opinion about the Trump presidency and what he believes lies ahead.
A Trump conviction may be significant for the market. This is because the president campaigned on ending regulations and creating a better environment for the markets. He has already achieved some of his promises, including on tax reform.
Another major development that happened during the weekend was the resignation of Sir Martin Sorrel from WPP. After weeks of speculation, he stepped aside from his role as the chair of the largest advertising company in the world. He was once named the most powerful man in media because his company had contracts with all the major advertisers.
In addition, early today, the Chinese Central Bank (PBOC) raised its 14-day interest rate. This was in line with what the bank had done after the US’ Fed raised interest rates in March. It raised the lending rate by 5 basis points to 2.7%. Previously, it increased the rates by another 5 basis points. As a result, the Chinese Yuan was higher than the leading currencies while the Chinese stocks were lower.