US-China Trade War does not bode well for AUD (Daniel Johnson)

Prolonged Trade War could hit the Australian Dollar

Sterling remains fragile against the majority of major currencies due to the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit, I feel GBP/AUD would be even lower than current levels if it were not for the US-China trade war.

Australia is heavily reliant on China purchasing it’s goods and services and the trade war is causing a slow down in economic growth. China has being going tit for tat on tariffs with the US and despite the current pause the situation has the potential to escalate.

The onus is on China to get the trade war sorted as quickly as possible. The trade war is a threat to China’s already slowing economy, growth missed economist’s forecasts by 0.1% in the 3rd quarter landing at 6.5%. This is the weakest quarterly growth since 2008.

There is a disproportionate effect on China when compared to the US. China’s exports to the US amounts to a bigger section of the Chinese economy than the amount to which China-bound US exports represent to the US economy. In 2017 China exported USD 50bln of goods to the States form  a USD 12trn total. This is compared to the US who exported USD 130bln worth of goods to China from USD 19trln GDP.

At present there is a 90 day pause on tariffs which commenced at the beginning of December. The US has agreed to hold back on a 25% increase on Chinese products if China agree to negotiate making fundamental changes to it’s current economic model. A 25% increase is extremely high and would no doubt have a severe impact on both economies.

This does not bode well for the Aussie. If it were not for the debacle that is Brexit I think we would be witnessing the Pound strengthen against the Australian Dollar. Brussels have stated they are not willing to make any changes to May’s deal and it glaringly obvious it will not get voted through parliament in it’s current form. We could be looking at a leadership challenge for Corbyn or a no deal scenario which would both hurt Sterling even more. I feel a second referendum could boost Sterling as polls suggest voters would now wish to remain in the EU, I think May would have to go for this scenario to emerge.

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