Chinese are playing Trump like a drum: Economist

Chinese are playing Trump like a drum: Economist
PHOTO: AFP

The Chinese are playing newly installed President Donald Trump "like a drum" in the currency markets, the founder of independent research firm High Frequency Economics told CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday.

Assessing the likelihood of Trump moving ahead Monday - the first official day of his presidency - with the campaign pledges most relevant to the US' relationships with other countries, Carl Weinberg declared it possible that he would walk away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with twelve of the Pacific Rim countries.

Weinberg also suggested he could immediately start discussing within the highest echelons of government the wall he has threatened to build between the US and Mexico, potential deportations and tariff changes, as well as feasibly label China to be a currency manipulator.

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"That would be interesting since China right now is manipulating to strengthen the yuan and if China stops at his request, the yuan will get weaker and he doesn't want that," the respected chief economist posited.

"I think the Chinese are playing him like a drum in this regard," he continued.

Contrasting Chinese President Xi's speech last Tuesday at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, which extolled the virtues of globalisation, with Trump's protectionist inauguration delivery on Friday, Weinberg cautioned that he believed serious mistakes are about to be made on trade.

Read Also: White House warns China on trade, South China Sea

"Listening to President Xi step right up and say if the US doesn't want to be the hegemon on trade and globalism, then we're happy to step up…that's a big change in the world economic order and I don't see how we can possibly benefit from that," he warned.

Looking domestically, despite equity markets' enthusiasm for Trump's pro-growth fiscal agenda, Weinberg highlighted that a sceptical Congress will need to be brought on board in order for the new administration to proceed with cornerstone ideas such as large-scale tax cuts.

The economist also brought up the $4 trillion federal deficit blow-out that occurred the last time a President - namely, George W.Bush - implemented a series of wide-ranging measures to boost domestic growth, saying "that can't be allowed to happen again".

In terms of additional potential setbacks to Trump's widely heralded domestic economic plans, Weinberg argued that the existing labour dynamic which would see demand outpace supply under the President's agenda, would most likely lead to inflation and fail to achieve the hoped-for growth result.

"Expectations have gone too far and I don't think the market can possibly get what it's expecting," he concluded.

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