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Wed 9 Nov 2016 07:39 AM

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Reaction from the Gulf as Trump takes famous win

Republican secures place in White House after night of high drama in the US

Reaction from the Gulf as Trump takes famous win
Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

15.15pm: We're going to bring our live commentary of the Middle Eastern reaction to the Trump victory to a close now.

Markets have been resilient, but there are still plenty of unknowns out there. The new president elect has criticised the US-led deal with Iran - so is that likely to be overturned?

How will President Trump tackle ISIL?

He has also been a supporter of JASTA, the controversial legislation just passed in the US that allows families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in American courts. That has not gone down well in the Arab world's largest economy.

Gulf airlines will also be watching carefully from the sidelines. Given his protectionist rhetoric, will Trump now come down on the side of the US airlines in their open skies war with their GCC counterparts?

The truth is that we are unlikely to know the answers to these questions for some time.

We'll leave the final word to Tim Fox, head of research at Emirates NBD, who has just emailed us his thoughts - we'll have his full opinion piece up on the site shortly.

"...one of the hallmarks of Trumps comments about
the Middle East has also been his relative inconsistency, as if he does not
want to be tied down to comments he made before the election. Unpredictability
is of course one of the main sources of concern, but it also offers the possibility
of some unexpected outcomes that might even surprise favourably.  On the
other hand, and probably more likely, a ‘US first’ approach to regional issues
may also manifest itself in US disengagement from the Middle East. In which
case the region’s governments may look to build stronger economic and financial
ties with other global powers." 

15.00pm: The Saudi stock market has now closed - it's finished up 0.33 percent. Bucking the trend was the banks and financials services segment of the market, which closed down 0.37 percent. But all in all, this is a strong performance.

14.45pm: We've published a news story featuring Khalaf Al Habtoor's thoughts about this morning's result - you can read it here.

14.40pm: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has also issued his congratulations to Donald Trump, state news agency SPA said on Wednesday.

The agency said that King Salman wished Trump success in "achieving security and stability in the Middle East and the wider world".

14.00pm: Some of the Gulf markets are now closing. Despite the result, it’s not been the bloodbath that many (including us) were expecting. At the close, the Dubai Financial Market closed down just 0.8 percent. Bellwether Emaar fell by just a third of a percent. Gulf Finance House (GFH) has had a strange day – down by 5 percent in early trading, it’s now finished the day up by nearly 6.5 percent on big trading volumes. This is one of the stranger stocks on the bourse, as Arabian Business has reported in the past.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange finished the day 0.6 percent down, while the Qatar Exchange has lost just 0.1 percent. The Tadawul, which will be open for another hour, is actually up 0.2 percent.

13.50pm: The president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, have also congratulated Donald Trump, according to Gulf News.

Interestingly, it turns out that Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, was actually the first foreign leader to speak to Trump following his electoral win. Perhaps Al Sisi will be fielding a few calls from other Middle Eastern leaders to see how the land lies?

13.25pm: Congratulations from other world leaders are flooding in. Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram of congratulation, as has India’s Narendra Modi. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said that the country will “work with the new US president to ensure the steady and sound development of bilateral relations”. That’s pretty much the theme from other world leaders, including Spain’s Mariano Rajoy and Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga.

And in Europe, stock markets have reacted surprisingly well after early slides – thanks in part to Trump’s conciliatory victory speech. The FTSE is almost flat, while bourses in Germany and France are down less than a percent.

13.05pm: The Wall Street Journal has just published an analysis piece on the Middle Eastern reaction to the Trump win. The newspaper has been speaking to Lebanon’s interior minister, Nohad Machnouk, who said that the new president would bring “political chaos”. “I don’t see tomorrow that, with a new American president, the American sun will shine again positively on the Middle East,” the minister added.

Trump’s views on the region are still pretty much unknown; he has not unveiled his plan for defeating ISIL, and doesn’t have a clear stance on the Israeli-Palestinian so-called peace process.

12.55pm: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, has tweeted his congratulations.

"We offer our congratulations and best wishes both to President Elect Donald Trump and to the American people," Sheikh Mohammed wrote. "We look forward to sharing our message of hope, peace, tolerance and development for a better world."

12.45pm: Egypt's president is - perhaps unsurprisingly, the first Middle Eastern leader to congratulate Donald Trump. "The Egyptian Arab Republic is looking forward to the period of Donald Trump's presidency to imbue new spirit into the path of Egyptian-American ties with more cooperation and coordination in the interests of both the Egyptian and American people," Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said, in a statement reported by Reuters.

Back in September, Al Sisi, who has met with the president elect in the past, called Trump "a fantastic guy," and said he had no doubt the billionaire would make "a strong leader".

12.25pm: Let's catch up on what's happening on the local markets. The DFM has recovered to 1.30 percent down, with about an hour and a half left of trading. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is down by 1.2 percent. The biggest local stock market, the Tadawul, has recovered strongly, and is now down by only a third of a percent - remember, it was down by 2.75 percent shortly after the opening bell.

So Gulf stocks look to have pared back some of their losses, but with European markets opening very shortly, this could all change again very soon.

12.20pm: Courtney Trenwith has been speaking to Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, one of the UAE's biggest family firms. His views on Donald Trump have been widely reported - it's fair to say he has held fairly negative views on the new president elect.

However, it seems that Al Habtoor is going to take a 'wait and see' approach with Trump, claiming that some of his more contentious remark (such as banning Muslims from the US) were made "for the election only". 

“He has no choice except to create great relations,” Al Habtoor told us.

“I don’t think Trump is an idiot; he’s a clever man and knows how to do things.

“[He] needs to re-establish the long relationship the GCC has with America … because this is very important. Everyone in the world, in the US, and us herein the GCC, has our own interests. I don’t blame the US, they have interest priorities to them and we have interest priorities to us, as well.

“I think we can work together very well, provided [Trump] has a new, clean page, a white page, to open it and to put things transparently to us.”

We'll have the full story up very shortly.

12.15pm: Reuters correspondent Alexander Cornwell has some quotes from the UAE's Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri. "The UAE has always been a promoter of opening doors and not building walls," Al Mansouri says. "What we all need right in this world now which is a better understanding between people, religions, background".

12.00pm: Trump is attempting to strike a conciliatory tone in his address. There's not much in there with regard to foreign policy, but he has said this: “We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will have great, great relations.

“While we’re always put America’s interest first, we will deal fairly with everyone. With people and all other nations we will seek common ground, partnership not conflict."

11.50am: "I'm sorry to keep you waiting - it's a complicated business," says Trump in the opening words of his victory speech. He congratulates Hillary Clinton for having "fought very well". "Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division and get together," he says. 

11.34am: And that's it - AP has now called the results of the presidential race. Donald Trump is now president elect of the US.

11.32am: The Associated Press has now called Wisconsin for Trump - who is believed to be on his way to give a victory speech in Trump Tower.

11.24am: The reaction from the Gulf is starting to flood in. UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei has been speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi - he says a Trump victory will "move the oil prices more than anyone," Reuters has reported.

11.14am: The Tadawul has opened, and it looks like it is going to be a harrowing day for Saudi stocks. Two minutes after the opening bell, Saudi equities fell by 2.75 percent.

11.10am: Unsurprisingly, the spokesperson for the Democrats Abroad group in the Gulf is upset.

"Don't listen to the media, don't listen to the pundits, don't listen to the experts, or the political talking-heads," Orlando Vidal has just emailed us. "Above all, don't trust any polls. The people have spoken. Sometimes the people get it wrong. But that's democracy. I say a prayer for my country, a prayer for this region, and a prayer for the world."

11.05am: Donald Trump is expected to make what is likely to be his victory speech in about 30 minutes' time.

Global stocks are likely to get a battering over the next few days, says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago. He's just told Reuters: "Foreign markets, particularly emerging markets, would take most of the brunt," he said. "These are markets that rely more on selling to us than us selling to them." His assessment is that US stocks could drop as much as 10 percent in the next 10 sessions.

10.50am: That news has not gone down well in the Gulf, with the Saudi bourse set to open in just 10 minutes' time. The DFM is now back down 2.5 percent, with Abu Dhabi down by 1.6 percent. The Qatar Exchange is down by 1.7 percent.

Here's the wider perspective from Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets: @"The way being paved for Trump to enter White House highlights once again a significant underestimation of underlying anger and frustration among the global electorate, enough for a vote to be cast for real change. Something truly different. Once in a generation stuff. Closer to home, the probability of a Le Pen win in France next year really can’t be discounted as the rise of populist politics begins to deliver for the masses. Any minute now we could be living in a very different world."

10.45am: Victory in Pennsylvania puts Trump on 264 electoral college votes - he only needs six more to become president elect. Any of Wisconsin, Arizona or Michigan will put him over the line - and he's ahead in all of them.

What does this mean for the Gulf? We'll have all the reaction as it comes in.

10.40am: The Associated Press has now called Pennsylvania for Trump - if that projection turns out to be correct, it's game over for Clinton.

10.30am: The DFM has recovered somewhat, with stocks now down 1.78 percent, up from their 2.5 percent low just after the opening bell. In Abu Dhabi, the stock market is down by 1.41 percent.

The margins for Hillary Clinton are getting slimmer and slimmer. If she loses either of Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, Donald Trump will be entering the White House in January.

We'll be speaking to local businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor in about 10 minutes' time to get his reaction on what has been an extraordinary election day.

10.05am: As expected, the Dubai Financial Market has not got off to a good start, with stocks down by 2.5 percent just five minutes after the opening bell. Bank GFH is down 5 percent, with developers Union Properties and Deyaar also suffering. Bellwether Emaar is down by 2.8 percent, despite a good quarterly result announced yesterday.

Over in Abu Dhabi, the bourse is down by 1.8 percent.

We're still waiting for the results from the final states to come in.

9.45am: Markets in the UAE are set to open in 15 minutes' time, and if they follow the trend we've already seen in Asia, they're only heading one way - down. Reuters is reporting that as the Gulf market most sensitive to foreign fund flows, Dubai's market could be "the most volatile in the region".

9.40am: The Financial Times (subscription required) is reporting that if the S&P 500 falls as much as the futures index suggests, it would mark the biggest one-day drop since the depths of the Eurozone crisis. The Mexican peso has fallen by more than 11 percent against the greenback – a record low.

9.28am: Clinton has picked up Nevada, with its six electoral votes. The Republicans are also solidly on course to hold on to their senate majority and the House of Representatives.

9.20am: Pennsylvania is now the key to this election, with its 20 electoral college votes. It's still too close to call. S&P futures are down by more than 4 percent, and Dow Industrials futures have dropped by a huge 700 points. 

"Nobody had hedged for a Trump win so people are trying to get out as quickly as possible now," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago, has just told Reuters.

9.05am: The Associated Press has called Iowa for Trump, as expected. The shock results in swing states are playing havoc with oil prices, currencies (particularly the Mexican peso) and Asian equities, as Reuters reports.

9.00am: The most important states still left to declare are Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with Fox News already suggesting Wisconsin has gone to Trump. The Republican candidate has also just picked up Utah.

8.30am: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton battled deep into the night for the White House on Tuesday, with Trump surprisingly taking a series of states, including the key battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida.

The U.S. dollar sank and stock markets slammed into reverse in wild Asian trade on Wednesday as the results so far showed the race to be a nail-biter, sending investors stampeding to safe-haven assets.

Sovereign bonds and gold shot higher while the Mexican peso went into near free-fall as investors faced the possibility of a Trump win. Investors worry a victory by the New York businessman could cause economic and global uncertainty.

With voting completed in 44 of the 50 U.S. states, the race was tight in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, leaving the race for the White House on a knife's edge.

Both candidates scored victories in states where they were expected to win. Trump captured conservative states in the South and Midwest, while Clinton swept several states on the East Coast and Illinois in the Midwest.

After running close throughout the night in Virginia, Clinton was projected by Fox News to pull out the swing state that is home to her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine. No other network had yet called the race there.

But Trump took Florida, North Carolina and Ohio giving him an early advantage in the state-by-state fight for 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.

Clinton had more options to reach 270, with Trump needing a virtual sweep of about six toss-up states to win. But a Trump win in those three states has left Clinton needing to win the remaining battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and either Nevada or New Hampshire.

8.00am: At 8:55 p.m. EST, Clinton tweeted: "This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything."

Going into Election Day, Clinton led Trump, 44 percent to 39 percent in the last Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll. A Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll gave her a 90 percent chance of defeating Trump and becoming the first woman elected U.S. president.

Also at stake on Tuesday was control of Congress. Television networks projected Republicans would retain control of the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

In the Senate, where Republicans were defending a slim four-seat majority, Democrats scored their first breakthrough in Illinois when Republican Senator Mark Kirk lost re-election. But Republicans Rob Portman in Ohio and Marco Rubio in Florida won high-profile Senate re-election fights.

In a presidential campaign that focused more on the character of the candidates than on policy, Clinton, 69, a former U.S. secretary of state, and Trump, 70, accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the country.

Trump again raised the possibility on Tuesday of not accepting the election's outcome, saying he had seen reports of voting irregularities. He gave few details and Reuters could not immediately verify the existence of such problems.


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Fentoni 3 years ago

I feel sick.

savio 3 years ago

why feeling sick.. Who knows !!! I am not a Trump fan by far but neither of Clinton who would have follow the same way of running a country made of lobbying and friend/mafia/groups from Washington. We have the same issue in France with ENA school where 99% of politicians are coming from. The US citizen decided and we have to accept their choice and see how it goes. I feel we will have good surprised and maybe he will open the way to a new politician wave made of people coming from the real life and not the ones who don't even know what is the price of a gallon of Oil or a piece of bread....

Guillaume 3 years ago

Do you think the Donald knows about much for a gallon or a piece of bread ?

Fentoni 3 years ago

I think that Trump has ridden to power on the crest of a wave of fear and discontent, we saw the same in Europe in the 1930s. Trump needs the fear and as things get worse Trump will not be able to rule without further stoking and manipulating fear. And fear is a highly combustible fuel. It burns up reason, tolerance and sanity. I hope I'm wrong.

Fentoni 3 years ago

the Donald doesn't know the price of oil and bread and he doesn't care who knows it. Worryingly it seems nobody that voted for him cares about his lack of knowledge on this and far more serious topics. As long as he builds his wall and brings back the manufacturing jobs (that largely died out with robotic assembly lines) then he can pretty much get away with most things in his supporters opinion.

Simon 3 years ago

@Fentoni...I think you will be surprised just how much Trump does know. The prospect of a war mongering Clinton, up to her eyes in corruption and sleaze would have been by far a worse proposition.

For whatever you think of Trump, Clinton is either just as bad or worse.

They call Trump a racist...yet Clinton in a televised interview many years ago said...and I quote "young Black men are sexual predators".

They say Trump is backed by the KKK...yet conveniently forget that Clintons primary mentor was a man that founded a chapter of the KKK! and she publicly gave him a glowing eulogy after his death! so who is the racist?

Trump INCREASED the Black vote and the Hispanic vote. Are those people voting for Trump racist?

The left-wing claims to be the voice of reason yet are evidently one of the most intolerant, hypocritical and violent ideologies you could find in Western society. When they lose their ground/argument they resort to race baiting and violent actions.

Fentoni 3 years ago

Hi Simon, where did this racist stuff come from? I'm worried about his lack of knowledge on serious issues, for the record I don't think he's either more or less racist than the majority of good folks who voted him into power.
Issues like one country invading another ARE serious though. Trump said in an interview in July to ABC's George Stephanopoulos "He's not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want," Man...Forget the racist nonsense and get real! You, me... we all should be concerned that Trump is clueless on such topics.