Japanese stocks plunge after Trump sparks US market fall


Japan’s main stock index has fallen more than 5% following heavy losses on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 dived in morning trade to its lowest point since April 2017 after US markets lost more than 2% in Monday trading.

The US losses followed US president Donald Trump comparing the US Federal Reserve to a bad golfer in yet another Twitter rant.

The benchmark S&P 500 has dropped nearly 15% during December and the market is on track for its worst year since 2008.

This month is also likely to be the worst December since 1931, when the US was in the grip of the Great Depression.

Elsewhere, European shares were down nearly 14% year-to-date and on track for their worst year since 2008, with Brexit, Italy’s contested budget and the US-China trade spat being blamed.

Mr Trump’s outburst comes at a time of increasing isolation for the president, with a dispute about the funding for his planned border wall prompting a government shutdown that is now in its third day.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” the president tweeted at around 3.45pm on Monday.

“They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders,” he wrote.

“The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!”

The tweet heightened fears about the potential destabilisation of the economy by a president who wants control over the Fed.

The government is shut for a third day

Mr Trump was expressing frustration that the central bank had raised its short-term interest rate four times this year.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the moves are intended to prevent the economy from overheating in a time of quick growth.

Mr Trump’s attacks have been interpreted as an attack on the political independence of the Federal Reserve, with many advising against the removal of Mr Powell.

As well as attacking the Federal Reserve, Mr Trump targeted critics to his border wall plan and decision to pull US troops out of Syria in his Twitter tirade on Monday.

Making a distinction between funding for border security, he said the wall would be built with “shutdown money”.

“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” he wrote.

“At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about.”

The dispute over funding for the border wall triggered a closure of a quarter of the government from Saturday, leaving around 400,000 federal employees working without pay.


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