David Mann, global chief economist at Standard Chartered, points out that the news flow on the US-China trade war has been erratic, to put it mildly.

Key Quotes

“Market panic subsided after the December 2018 G20 meeting, only to resume in May 2019 with a new cycle of punitive measures and counter-measures. There are hopes that the G20 summit on 28-29 June will mark the start of a more constructive phase. While a sudden agreement would be a positive surprise, it would not be the end of the story.”

“The pattern of unpredictable developments is likely here to stay, particularly with the approaching 2020 US presidential elections. More fundamentally, the dispute has gone beyond trade to the contentious areas of security and technology, meaning that broader US-China tensions will not be settled by an agreement on trade.”

“It is in both sides’ interests to settle the economic dispute quickly; this is also crucial for global growth, given that the US-China economic relationship is arguably the most important in the world.”

“Even if a deal is struck, though, the effects of the dispute are already apparent: weaker investor sentiment towards global growth and an acceleration of the diversion of FDI flows to alternative markets to China (especially in ASEAN). This provides further reason to believe that the ‘dovish wave’ among global central banks (discussed in our latest Global Focus quarterly publication) is here to stay.”