Republican candidate, Donald Trump was sworn in as the US President on 20th January 2017. He has repeatedly spoken about his policy trifecta since coming to power. It comprises of tax cuts, deregulation, and infrastructure spending. Global financial markets jubilantly vaulted higher and welcomed the new White House resident with great enthusiasm. The S&P 500 registered a rise of 4.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.3% during the first 50 days since Trump got sworn in, the best ever for a GOP President. To top that, robust jobs report and firm wage growth for February gives a clear indication that US economic growth is on its way up.
The Trump Scorecard
Tracking how markets and the economy have performed under the new president
|Jobs added under Trump as of Feb 2017
|12 month change in wage as of Feb 2017
The most controversial Trump initiative has been suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations while indefinitely barring Syrian refugees. This gave rise to chaos at airports around the world as authorities struggled to implement the new policy. However, not everything went as Trump planned. His first order on immigration and refugees had a clumsy rollout and was struck down by a Washington state US district judge. It was an early lesson for Trump that executive power comes with limits. Major tech giants in the US protested against the move, as immigrants have traditionally comprised a healthy proportion of Silicon Valley's lucrative start-up scene and it could risk disrupting the engine of innovation.
Trump signed an executive order to fulfill his campaign promise of building a wall along the US-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration and boost national security. However, this decision escalated into a diplomatic standoff from the very next day, when Mexico’s President publicly called off a scheduled meeting with Trump, as the latter repeatedly stated that Mexico should pay for construction of the wall.
President Donald Trump’s efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system hit a bump, after it faced resistance from a conservative GOP faction, the House Freedom Caucus. Failure to pass the healthcare bill raised questions not only on Trump’s ability to get other key parts of his agenda, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending, but also his capacity to govern effectively.
Donald Trump has started demolishing a wide array of Obama-era policies. On his second full working day, Trump signed orders to advance construction of two controversial pipelines - the Keystone XL and Dakota Access. Trump signaled his support for these two projects, which critics state will have an adverse environmental impact. He also signed an executive order on energy independence and to review and potentially repeal President Obama’s anti-energy policies that were instituted under the Climate Action Plan and Clean Power Plan. These involve a framework for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel-fired electricity plants. Further, he has promised to put an end to Obama's moratorium on issuing new leases for coal mining on government administered property.
Protecting the jobs of American workers was a central focus of Trump’s campaign. He has signed an order to withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was a critical part of Barack Obama's international trade policy. He has also pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. However, there hasn’t been an executive order to that effect yet. Moreover, Trump also targeted the coveted H-1B work visa, which is the main pathway for highly skilled foreigners to work at US companies for up to six years. The US has suspended expedited processing of H-1B visas for six months starting from 3rd April, 2017.
The Trump Effect
|Reduced Regulation||Instability & Uncertainty|
|Business & industrial friendly policy change||Barriers to global trade|
|Reduced Taxation||Poor international relations|
|Increased infrastructure investment||Reduced focus on alternative energies|
Failure to get the healthcare bill passed has already raised questions about the Trump administration’s ability to go ahead with its elaborate economic agenda. Looking ahead, if the Congress disapproves of Donald Trump’s tax and spending plans, it could leave the financial market in a vulnerable position. Further, fiscal policy reform was the foundation of Trump’s manifesto, but until now more noise has been created around other issues such as immigration, media, regulation and the judiciary. Investors eagerly look ahead to the more complex process of undertaking tax cuts and implementing fiscal stimulus. Any disappointment on this may not be taken too kindly by markets.