January 3, 2020— On January 2, a U.S. military drone strike eliminated General Qassem Suleimani, leader of the al-Quds battalion of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The drone strike, which occurred at Baghdad airport, followed a rapidly escalating U.S. conflict with an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia. The al-Quds forces advance Iran’s influence by supporting various governments and militias across Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Iran has threatened unspecified retaliation against U.
December 12, 2019—Chinese equities have been holding up reasonably well, despite the U.S. threat of expanded tariffs and technology sanctions, and the risk of blow-back from the Hong Kong situation. From its recent trough on August 5 to its subsequent grind upward through December 12, the MSCI China Index has gained 12.3%.
As we approach the end of 2019, it is worth “taking stock” of China, pun intended.
October 24, 2019— On Tuesday, October 22, by a vote of 329-299, the UK House of Commons approved in principle the revised EU Withdrawal Agreement (to implement “Brexit”) negotiated with the EU by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The PM has managed to achieve what his predecessor, Theresa May, could not, even after three attempts.