Pro Perspectives 5/29/20

May 29, 2020

In a prepared speech today, Trump formalized many of the threats against China that we've heard over the past few months. 

This is all beginning to look like China will be put in the trade penalty box, not just by the U.S., but in coordination by the global democratic powers.  

In the near term, this confrontation with China will further disrupt global supply, which is already feeding into a formula for higher prices, which will soon be followed by higher wages. 

In the medium term, a globally coordinated hardline penalty for China would force the movement of the global supply chain sooner, rather than later, and force the restructuring of economies (for the better) of the United States, Europe and Japan.

The question is, how would China respond to an economic penalty box?  Likely with aggression.  The CCP can't politically withstand the suffocation of exports.  

And how would Russia align?  They would likely stand back and watch. 

There was a recent article in Foreign Policy (here) on this, laying out the reasons why Russia and China would not form an effective alliance against the U.S. (and allies). 
Here's the gist:  "history shows that autocratic allies tend to fight each other more than the enemy. In spite of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Adolf Hitler turned on and invaded the Soviet Union, betraying his partner Joseph Stalin. The major military action of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War was attacking its own members, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The last time China and Russia were aligned, they nearly fought a nuclear war with each other in the 1969 Sino-Soviet border conflict. And Putin invaded Ukraine and Georgia at a time when these countries were involved in the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States.

Moreover, there are many conflicts of interest between Russia and China that will push them apart without any help from the United States. Depopulation in Russia’s Far East has led to fears that an expanding China will attempt a land grab. Russian colleagues report that Russia’s new nuclear-armed intermediate-range missiles are not aimed at NATO but meant to deter a rising China. More broadly, Moscow was the senior partner during the Cold War, and Putin will not be keen to now play second fiddle to Beijing."

Interestingly, the move in stocks today was up, following Trump's speech.  If you have money in China or Hong Kong, you're getting it out. Where will it go?  U.S. stocks, treasuries, gold … bitcoin.