Months of political deadlock in Italy ended on Friday with Giuseppe Conte being sworn in as the new prime minister.  This marked a significant reversal from earlier in the week, when President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Conte’s pick for finance minister, sending both Italian and European markets into a tailspin.  While the media was concerned with the potential apocalypse that faced Europe, the two anti-establishment parties agreed on a list of ministers drawn up from both the Five Star Movement and Right-Wing League.  It would appear that the recent market movements in European markets reflected the political uncertainty within Italy, rather than Italy defaulting or leaving the EU.

The week had stored all its headlines for Friday, as along with the news from Italy, we had other issues in Europe with Visa suffering a service disruption which stopped card transactions being processed.  £1 in every £3 spent in the UK is spent on a Visa card; systems were down for around 6 hours during the busiest period of the week which wreaked havoc for consumers and businesses alike.  Malicious activity was quickly ruled out and Visa admitted a hardware failure was to blame.

The US implemented the much-threatened steel and aluminium tariffs on Friday, with national security concerns to blame.  This has sparked outrage and potential retaliatory levies from the affected allies of the US, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Friday also gave good tidings for the US with the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years.  This is likely to pave the way for another interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve later this month.