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From The President’s Desk

To say this has been a year of events is an understatement. While the markets have had their ups and downs, a review of world events reminds us that we are truly a worldwide economic entity, and the domestic markets are affected tremendously although the event may be on the other side of the world.

Colombia's 50 year fight against the Marxist guerilla group, The FARC, led to more than 250,000 deaths of innocent and inclusive people in the war for power. Elected in 2010, Colombian president Juan Santos committed to continue the fight to eradicate The FARC. Santos, who won a Nobel Prize for negotiating an agreement for peace, got voted down surprisingly by the people of Colombia for his peace incentive. So, getting the government to drop the need for a public referendum, the Colombian Congress approved a deal to hopefully find peace. This affected most of the South American markets, which affected the domestic markets as well. Brazil and South Korea both impeached their presidents over issues related to oil scandals, price fixing and "cooking the books" to cover growing fiscal deficits. In South Korea, it was about extortion- not to mention sharing a geographic line with North Korea, led by a murderous mad man. The war in Aleppo, one of the most horrible atrocities in human history, is a terrible mix of rebels, President Bashar al-Assad, the Russians and Syria leading to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and a flattened, destroyed country. One can't help but well up in sympathy for the people there, innocents in a war beyond comprehension, the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our generation. One wonders once this is all over what will be left to have fought and died for.

A coup in Turkey failed, thanks to social media. A faction of Turkish troops marched to overthrow President Recap Tayyip Erdogan- only he was on vacation and out of harm's way when he heard of the attempted coup. Using FaceTime on his IPhone, he mobilized his dedicated troops and fellow citizens to rise up and push back the rebellion. It worked and the coup failed. The President of Turkey blamed the US for encouraging the coup (?), straining US-Turkish relations. Rodrigo Duarte became the President of the Philippines, and proceeded to blame the US for anything and everything, straining relations between the two countries. Britain voted to leave the European Union, one of the biggest economic surprises of the decade because of the citizens of Great Britain thinking this was a joke. Some joke- it's a political mess that may take years to accomplish an action that most Brits didn't really want but were not truthful in the voting process.

Then of course, we can't leave out the US elections- the biggest surprise on presidential election history. Adding to the surprise result are accusations of a Russian led interference and other almost unfathomable claims from both sides of the aisle, and other independent groups as well. Interest rates were raised ¼ point, the first raise in years. The market had a fast and furious run, with most analyst scratching their heads. The last few days of the year include changes in policy towards Israel, in place for over 50 years. Whew... what a year. It's very important to remember that we are a global economy, and American companies are International companies as well, being affected by all the above occurrences and many more. Hopefully, and for humanity's sake as well as the market's sake, 2017 will lead to a less violent and more peaceful time. Stability and lack of surprise could be the best thing for the markets worldwide, which could lead to slow, continued upward growth. Let us all think positive, and hope it will be so- for the markets as well as humanity.

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