Trump's 2020 Push May Mean Rocky Times for Emerging Markets
(Bloomberg) -- If investors learned anything at all from the recent turmoil in Mexico’s markets, it’s that U.S. President Donald Trump‘s push for a second term in the White House is likely to throw up plenty of gyrations -- and a lot of that may be more noise than signal.
Trump’s threat at the end of May to impose tariffs on Mexican goods caught traders by surprise, causing the peso to weaken and broader markets to shudder. His announcement of a deal on Friday to avert them leaves investors more or less back at square one.
“With Mexico, it all seems like a publicity stunt,” said Nader Naeimi, the head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney. “What was announced on Friday with huge excitement consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised.”
The MSCI emerging markets index rose 1.5% on Monday, the most since early January, amid relief on the trade front.
The takeaway is that emerging markets in particular will need to be on guard against the negotiating tactics -- or apparent whims -- of the president as he plays to his support base in the run-up to the election late next year. They’ll need to navigate two opposing forces in particular: Trump’s preference for rate cuts, which has sparked hope among emerging-market investors of a weaker dollar, and at the same time his trade wars, which they dread.
Trump touched on both matters in an interview on CNBC Monday, calling the Fed “disruptive,” discussing China’s exchange rate and saying he’ll increase tariffs on Chinese goods if the two sides fail to reach a trade deal.
“Trump wants Fed rate cuts and a lower dollar,” said Naeimi. “He also wants to win the 2020 election, so he will continue to inject uncertainty and tension.”
--With assistance from Abeer Abu Omar.
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