If there is one characteristic that defines Donald Trump, it is his innate opportunism. This, when aligned with his unwavering self-belief, creates an indefatigable presence that will constantly look to identify opportunities for self-promotion.
This was in evidence at the end of last month, when Trump and his staunchest investor friends told anyone who would listen that the novice President was responsible for the strength of the post-election stock market.
The truth is far more evolved than this, however, while there is even an argument to suggest that Trump’s impact on the market’s growth has been negligible.
Trump and Asia: It’s Complicated
Interestingly, Trump’s impact has arguably been more pronounced on foreign markets, with his controversial outbursts and protectionist outlook having caused controversy with a number global leaders. This is particularly true in Asia, where the trust between America and government’s such as China have gradually eroded over time.
This was a point acknowledged by Hilary Clinton during the election, as while the former U.S. secretary of state helped to create the nation’s strategic pivot to Asia, she would have needed time to restore a broken relationship.
Still, Trump’s election has arguably set back social, political and economic relations even further. One former Japanese diplomat stated (prior to the vote) that Trump’s election would mark the end of America’s self-proclaimed moral leadership, for example, questioning how “U.S. society has produced this man as the Republican candidate for office”. The global stock markets were also sent reeling by Trump’s ultimate election to office, as his proposed foreign policy and stance on international relations opposed the fundamental values of globalism.
While the reality has brought about little more than a cold war between the U.S. and various Asian nations so far, relations with China are becoming particularly strained. Online brokerage platforms are seeing a decline in daily trading volumes, for example, while Chinese stocks are being squeezed by falling demand and tighter market regulations. The latest reports talk about concern of a tax war between Washington and Beijing, with Trump’s controversial economic policy at the heart of this dispute.
Has Trump Had an Impact on the Strength on the Asian Market?
Trump’s desire to reduce corporation tax from 35% to 15% has been irked Beijing officials, who have claimed that this would have an adverse affect on Chinese trade. This has already the subject of tense discussions between the two nations, while the ongoing, geopolitical conflict between the U.S. and North Korea are making it exceptionally difficult for any common ground to be sought. This is arguably doing neither the American or the Asian markets any good, as sustained conflict continues to cause greater volatility and send investors running.
This may not be the case in the long-term, of course, particularly if all Asian nations unite in economic and political opposition to the U.S. Similarly, Trump’s reported penchant for a weaker dollar may also strengthen Asian exports, while creating a higher demand among investors for the safe-haven of the Japanese yen. This is a certainly an interesting space to watch for now, although it is almost impossible to determine fact from fiction under the increasingly erratic Presidency of Donald Trump.