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LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Hillary – white hope to black swan

Questions about Hillary Clinton’s health will now dog the U.S. Presidential race following news she is suffering from pneumonia following a fainting episode at the 9/11 memorial 15th Anniversary event yesterday.  It could also affect gold given the knee jerk reaction which saw global stock prices nosedive.  As we’ve pointed out beforehand, markets are fragile with many hugely-followed analysts and commentators predicting a stock market collapse.  Could the Fed even consider raising interest rates, with tightening potentially giving markets another downwards nudge if they do, given likely continuing questions over Clinton’s health, even if she makes a rapid recovery?

But what are the options now?  She could stand down if the illness proves to be serious, which it can be for a late middle aged person – Clinton is 69 next month.  She will almost certainly have to cut back on her rigorous campaign schedule regardless – she has reportedly already cancelled a proposed two day campaign trip to California which had been planned for Monday and Tuesday next week and the first Presidential debate is due in a couple of weeks’ time. 

If she does step down then there is the burning question as to who would take over the Democratic mantle.  Clinton is a highly contentious candidate, as is her Presidential opponent, Donald Trump, and there is the possibility that any replacement, if this were to be considered might be able to allay what is still a big anti-Clinton feeling.  Even so, she remains ahead in the polls and is still the comfortable favourite to win in November.  To change horses midstream would be unprecedented and we suspect Clinton will carry on regardless, although she will presumably have to cut back on some of the demanding campaigning which will be necessary in the now less than 2 months to go before the election date.

So far the gold price has been relatively unmoved on the news, albeit it has moved a little lower, but European equities markets seem to be being hit hard, following big falls in Asia overnight and in New York yesterday.  New York openings for equities and precious metals will both be viewed with particular interest today to try and ascertain whether the negative trend will continue.

12 Sep 2016

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