By Cheah Cheng Hye, Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Value Partners
The potential trade war between China and the United States
In recent months, I have been advising investors to be cautious, because I was worried about rising trade tensions between China and the U.S. But now that the two sides have announced trade tariffs, I have become less worried, not more worried. This is because I don’t expect a real trade war between China and the U.S. – both have too much to lose.
For now, the outlook is for a volatile market, resembling a roller coaster.
But I believe that some time in 2018, we will have a big buying opportunity in China-related stocks. Trading at a price-earnings ratio of only 12.5, which is not expensive, China-related stocks can stage a very nice recovery once Beijing and Washington reach a deal on trade. This deal can be reached within 2018, and I suggest long term investors can already start a process of gradually accumulating China-related stocks. This is because no one can time the precise bottom of the market and long term investors should generally ignore all the noise.
What if the two sides fail to achieve a trade agreement?
Fundamentally, the impact is actually small. If the United States goes ahead with the announced tariffs on US$50 billion worth of imports from China, Chinese exports to America would decrease by 1.6%, equivalent to just 0.4% of total Chinese exports. The impact on China’s economic growth would be insignificant.
In the medium term, China is determined to reduce its dependence on economic relations and trade with the U.S. Instead, China’s emphasis will be on developing domestic sources for economic growth, especially consumer spending and improving living standards and the environment. The Belt and Road projects will also play a role.
So from my point of view, China-related stocks will be less and less vulnerable to the threat of a trade war. The China story is actually looking quite attractive, offering growth and predictability, at a reasonable price, for long term investors.
The views expressed are the views of Value Partners Limited only and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. The information provided does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. All materials have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable as of the date of presentation, but their accuracy is not guaranteed. This material contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Investors should note that investment involves risk. The price of units may go down as well as up and past performance is not indicative of future results. Investors should read the explanatory memorandum for details and risk factors in particular those associated with investment in emerging markets. This commentary has not been reviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission. Issuer: Value Partners Limited.