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Markets & the War in Syria

Published on: 07/04/2017

The war in Syria has been going on for years due to the complexity of the issue – first there were rebels against Assad’s cruel regime versus Assad supporters, then some of the rebels joined what is now known as ISIS and claimed some of Syria’s territory, and while the rest of the world agrees that ISIS must be stopped, different countries favor conflicting solutions. During this political stalemate the people of the region suffer the injustices of war.

Earlier this week footage of a horrific chemical weapon attack began circulating online, and now, early Friday, the United States took action by bombing a Syrian military base in response. However, this greatly displeased Russia, since the federation supports Assad. In this political uncertainty the markets experienced some serious volatility.

First off, the oil did surprisingly well after news of the attack – up to $55.72 per barrel, but American stocks and the USD dropped because of the tensions with Russia. Later on they both climbed back up as an official US government representative stated that the attack was a one-off and does not mean the US will be going to full-scale war, which calmed the markets. Now the USD is going strong against major currencies.

Now investors’ eyes are on other news that can help evaluate the American economy and judge how the scales would tip in the aftermath of this situation. Payrolls reports are coming out soon but would likely be a bit disappointing, compared to how well they were going in January and February. Furthermore, we are expecting news about American relations with China, as Trump is set to start negotiations with Xi Jinping regarding their policy toward North Korea as well as China’s trade surplus with the US, one of Trump’s campaign’s cornerstones.

US Treasury yields fell to their lowest in the past few months to 2.29% due to the tensions between the United States and Russia over Syria. The two countries are not known to be the best of friends, as anyone who ever took history can tell you. This is why even the smallest sign of conflict between the two can have a great impact on the market. Russia’s position is especially tricky now that the American President has officially approached China for talks.

Watch out for any news regarding the war, Russia, and the US-China relations as things will likely be shaky in the coming days.

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