As Donald Trump is elected US president, IoD director general Simon Walker says the fortitude of business leaders will be vital to the UK’s ability to overcome economic volatility.
Donald Trump has seized an extraordinary US presidential election win, and world markets have experienced turbulence in response to the result.
The FTSE 100 opened 145 points, or two per cent, lower – taking £37bn off the value of the top UK-listed companies – though losses were largely recovered swiftly on Wednesday morning.
Similar dips were experienced by Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac, and Asian markets tumbled overnight with Japan’s Nikkei down five per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng falling two per cent.
The US dollar also plummeted in value against a raft of currencies overnight before recovering most of its lost ground. The Mexican peso, meanwhile, fell to a record low.
But despite the protectionist rhetoric employed by Donald Trump on his campaign trail, the longer term implications of the result for UK businesses are unclear at this early stage – and IoD director general Simon Walker said the resilience of business leaders will be vital to the country.
“This has been a year of political surprises, to put it mildly,” said Walker. “The resilience of British companies will be tested by market and currency volatility in coming days and the country will need the perseverance and fortitude of business leaders.
“During the US election the benefits of free trade came under attack from both candidates, a development which has worried the business community.
“The IoD firmly believes that trade raises living standards across the world. In today’s globalised world, pulling up the drawbridge and turning inwards will only hurt citizens.
“We can only hope that as president, Mr Trump will continue to embrace the USA’s role as a leader in international economic cooperation.”