Investor Jim Rogers: Stop the trade war

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 14, 2018
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World-renowned investor Jim Rogers has told he is not in favor of the decision of President Donald Trump to raise tariffs on Chinese goods, and appealed to both sides to stop the trade war.

World-renowned investor Jim Rogers [Photo/]
World-renowned investor Jim Rogers [Photo/]

The United States announced earlier last week it would start imposing extra tariffs on another US$16 billion worth of Chinese goods from Aug. 23. This follows the move by the Trump administration to impose additional tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese products starting on July 6.

In a tit-for-tat response, China decided on Aug. 8 to impose the same amount of tariffs on American products, to take effect on the same days as the American actions. 

Describing how the business sector would be affected, Rogers said: "The ones subject to tariffs are already seeing price hikes and slower business; but this is just starting. Higher prices, less demand at least partly because of uncertainty."

To force China bow to American hegemony, the Trump administration added further to the tensions in August by threatening to impose a 25 percent tariff on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

However, Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund, described Trump as a serious protectionist, and added: "There is no evidence that any trade war has ever succeeded."

Despite U.S. tariffs, China's exports surged more than expected in July, rising 12.2 percent year-on-year, according to data released on Aug. 8 by China's General Administration of Customs. In particular, China's exports to the U.S. rose 11.2 percent year-on-year, compared with a 12.5 percent increase in June. Meanwhile, China's imports from America grew by 11.1 percent in July, reported.

At the same time, imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the European Union and Australia jumped 30.2 percent, 20 percent and 33.7 percent, respectively, possibly suggesting China is trying to find alternative import sources to cope with the fallout from the trade war.

The escalation between the United States and China has also impacted stock markets on both sides. When the market closed on Aug. 2, Chinese stocks were worth a total of US$6.09 trillion, which meant China temporarily lost its status as world's second-largest stock market to Japan, whose shares were valued at US$6.16 trillion. As of today, the Shanghai Composite Index has fallen about 16 percent this year partially due to the continuing uncertainties and frictions in the Sino-U.S. trade relationship.

"The market is down a lot, but so what? This happens all the time in markets," said Rogers, adding he believed the Chinese stock market would rebound when the U.S. market rallies, "since it’s time for some good news leading to a rally."

However, the Chinese stock market problem is more than just about the trade war. Recently, China's top securities regulator has been making moves to seek more stability. On Aug. 8, The China Securities Regulatory Commission released a statement saying the authorities would continue to deepen listing system reform and positively promote mergers and acquisitions of listed companies. China's share prices then rebounded the next day.

Rogers, a 75-year-old American businessman, has long been optimistic about the Chinese economy and national power. His faith in China has never been swayed by any event. "What has happened in last five months that is so momentous to make me change my mind?" he asked with a laugh.  

"There are still bubbles in the U.S. stock market, in some property markets, in some things," he added.

Rogers has visited China as a tourist many times since 1984, including making a motorcycle tour of the vast country in 1988. During that time, he realized that China would be the next great economy and he began to make monetary investments in China in the late 1990s.

He even moved his family from the United States to Singapore to provide his daughters with access to a Chinese environment. Now, he is very bullish about the Chinese agriculture sector.

The Chinese word "weiji" (危机,normally translated as "crisis") is one of his favorites. He understands that, in Chinese, it means disaster and opportunity "are the same thing." So, for the current tensions between the world's two biggest economies, he offers this suggestions: "Be worried. Get prepared. And stop the trade war."

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