US election: Betting favours Hillary

Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania on Monday (Reuters)
Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania on Monday (Reuters)

The betting markets are strongly backing Hillary Clinton to win the US Presidential election.

But have they got it right, or is this going to be a repeat of the Brexit decision?

The UK's Betfair says Hillary Clinton is now trading at an 83 percent chance of winning. She received a boost following the FBI's announcement that it had again cleared the Democratic nominee over her use of a private email server.

Betfair says 110 million pounds (NZ$186 million) has now been traded on the race. It looks a very good chance that total betting will exceed the 127 million pounds (NZ$215 million) bet on the Brexit market in June.

Ireland's Paddy Power and Britain's Ladbrokes give Hillary Clinton a similar probability of winning.

The vast bulk of the money is being wagered outside of the United States due to restrictions on gambling in many US states.

Predictit, which is run by Victoria University in Wellington and by the Washington DC-based political consulting firm Aristotle International, gives Hillary Clinton an 81 percent probability of winning.

The betting agencies report that Donald Trump is a favourite with one group of punters, the people who previously bet on Brexit.

That raises the question of whether the betting markets have got it right - or wrong?

The bookies had 'Remain' a favourite to win the Brexit vote, but people voted 52 percent to 48 percent in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.

It turned out that although the majority of the money had been placed on 'Remain' more individual bets were placed on 'Leave'. Large bets by people leaving in London obscured the real sentiment among punters.

The opinion polls indicate this will be a close election.

The FiveThirtyEight site says the average of recent opinion polls gives Hillary Clinton a lead of 1.9 percent.

Its analysis of the polls gives Clinton a 67 percent probability of winning. However the site's statistician Nate Silver cautions that Hillary Clinton is potentially just one state away from losing the Electoral College.

Investors are betting heavily on Hillary Clinton. Stocks on Wall Street rose by around 2 percent today. That followed what had been a nine session losing streak for Wall Street.

The US market last fell for nine sessions in a row back in 1980, when the S&P500 lost more than 9 percent.

This year's nine-day losing streak was far milder, with the S&P500 falling by slightly more than 3 percent. CNBC reports there have been about 300 single sessions in which the markets have fallen by a bigger amount, going back to 1928.

The US dollar was also stronger, with the New Zealand currency down about half a percent overnight to 73.12 US cents.

The Mexican Peso also gained strength, as investors became more confident about Hillary Clinton's chances.


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