Dollar and stocks fall as Trump takes lead in US election

dollar to naira

The US dollar has dropped and stocks have plummeted as investors faced the possibility that Republican nominee Donald Trump could win the race to the White House.

As of 04:55GMT on Wednesday, Trump was leading Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 23 Electoral College votes, with a tally of 232-209. It takes 270 to win.

US stock futures recoiled more than 4 percent, a loss reminiscent of the market carnage that followed the British vote to leave the European Union in June; while the Mexican peso went into near free-fall as Trump secured the key state of Florida, plunging more than 10 percent against the dollar.

The peso has become a touchstone for sentiment on the election as Trump’s trade policies are seen as damaging to its export-heavy economy.

“There’s a lot of panic in the market, it is definitely an outcome it was not expecting,” Juan Carlos Alderete, a strategist at Banorte-IXE told Reuters news agency.

But the story was very different against the safe-haven yen, with the dollar shedding 3 percent to 102.02 yen. The euro gained 1.5 percent to $1.1190.

However, the price of gold, seen as a safe place for investors’ money in times of uncertainty, soared 3.1 percent to $1,313.50 an ounce.

Meanwhile, South Korean authorities were thought to have intervened to steady their currency, and dealers were wondering if central banks globally would step in to calm nerves.

Markets fear a Trump victory could cause global economic and trade turmoil, discouraging the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates in December as long expected, and have tended to favour Clinton as a status quo candidate who would be considered a safe pair of hands at home on the world stage.

With voting completed in more than two-thirds of the 50 US states, the race was still too close to call in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, states that could be vital to deciding who wins the presidency.