Business was a major focus of the first presidential debate with Clinton accusing property tycoon Trump of being a poor businessman and trying to hide “something really important” by not releasing his tax returns.
Trump fought back on trade – particularly over NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has pledged to renegotiate that accord which was signed by President Bill Clinton – Hillary’s husband – in 1993.
It is an issue which resonates in economically depressed areas of the United States where Trump is strong in the opinion polls.
The Republican’s camp made much of that, tweeting about the reaction during the debate.
Trump blames NAFTA for the US losing jobs to Mexico, his bête noire. He gave the example of Ford moving some production of small vehicles south of the border.
The carmaker immediately responded with a tweet that no jobs will be lost by the move as it will build different cars in its US factories.
Ford’s chief executive Mark Fields has said: “It’s really unfortunate when politics get in the way of the facts.”
Trump also suggested his opponents recent disavowal of a trade deal with Asian countries was insincere while Clinton called Trump’s tax policies “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics.
“With Trump we don’t know what to expect”
According to analysts investors mostly saw the first debate as a win for Clinton. That is a positive as they do not know what a Trump presidency might mean for US foreign policy, international trade deals or its economy.
Robert Halver, head of capital markets analysis at Baader Bank, said: “Mrs Clinton won over Donald Trump in the first TV debate. We have known Mrs Clinton for 20 years. She was secretary of state, she was the wife of a US president. That means that if she were to become president, there is a certain amount that we already know.”
He added: “With Donald Trump, we don’t know what to expect. He has put forward a lot of bizarre suggestions. He most likely also has a different idea of the global economy, of free trade which would unsettle the rest of the world. So the markets will be calmer if Clinton gets it. But still even if it is Donald Trump, and there would, of course, be certain shock waves and numbness, the markets would revive. Because even a Donald Trump can’t completely ignore the global order.”
‘The Trump thermometer’
And on the perception that Clinton had come out ahead in the debate, the Mexican peso rose in value against the dollar on Tuesday.
The peso has been dubbed the ‘Trump thermometer’ because of its sensitivity to the US presidential campaign.
The Republican candidate has pledged to build a wall at the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.