Trump vs. Biden – Who’s Better for FX?

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Trump vs. Biden – Who’s Better for FX?

Daily FX Market Roundup November 3, 2020

Election day is finally here and the level of anxiety in America is through the roof. The polls show Joe Biden in the lead but in key battleground states, the spread is less than 1.5 points which means it could swing either way.

The very first polls close at 6pm Eastern Time in parts of Indiana and Kentucky with the very last poll closing at 1am ET in Alaska. In a normal year, by midnight, the election will be called and one of the candidates will concede. However this is far from a normal year because so many Americans voted early and voted by mail which could lead to confusing and mixed initial results. Early returns may look very different from the in person votes and mail in ballots. Our best advice is not to react to the initial outcomes because conflicting results will lead to market volatility.

At the onset, the numbers could look good for Trump as the President is expected to win Kentucky and Indiana easily. The main focus in the early evening will be Florida. If Biden wins Florida, the chance that he will win the election increases exponentially. Stock futures will fall and the dollar will slide. If Trump wins Florida, stocks will soar at the onset because this big win could pave the way for reelection.

There are too many battleground states this time around but the most important will be Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ohio polls close at 7:30pm. Polls in 4 North Carolina sites are extended so their election results will be delayed by 45 minutes to 8:15pm ET. Polls in Pennsylvania close at 8pm ET but it could take days for mail in ballots to be counted. If Trump wins all of those states, he’ll be the President for the next four years. If he loses them all, he won’t be able to contest his seat and Biden will be declared the winner. But its unlikely that it will be a broad sweep which means it could be a long drawn out election.

While its believed that in the short term, a Trump victory will rally stocks and a Biden victory will drive them lower, the impact on the currency market is more nuanced. We know that it will be a long drawn out election night but at the end of the day, some currencies will perform better under another Trump term and others under Biden. More specifically, Biden is expected to be friendlier to Canada and the European Union and more critical of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. If he wins, CAD and EUR could outperform while GBP could weaken. Trump is more supportive of Brexit and more willing to threaten the EU and Canada with tariffs so GBP will probably rally if he wins. USD/JPY should benefit from a Trump victory and fall on a Biden win but that’s assuming a clear winner is declared. If the votes are close and election is contested, the uncertainty could drive all of the risk currencies lower.

Kathy Lien
Managing Director

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