Trump Levies Would Hit Other Asia Economies Harder Than China's

  • Bloomberg Economics says Malaysia and Hong Kong would suffer
  • White House sends mixed signals about trade ties with Beijing

Assessing the Health of U.S.-China Trade Relations

Other Asian economies would suffer more than China’s if Donald Trump does deliver on his threats to slap $150 billion of tariffs on shipments from the world’s biggest trading nation.

That’s according to Bloomberg economists Fielding Chen and Tom Orlik, who estimate that for every 10 percent drop in China’s exports, the gross domestic product growth rate of Asian economies would fall 1.1 percentage points on average. China’s would decrease by just 0.3 percentage point.

While such a drop in shipments by the world’s biggest trading nation is an extreme scenario, it’s not an impossible one if Trump delivers on his tariffs threat, they said in a note Friday.

Who Loses If Trump Dents Trade?

Weaker Chinese exports would hit Asia’s integrated supply chain

Source: Bloomberg Economics based on OECD data for 2014

Other Asian economies would be hit hard if China exports fall 10 percent and it scales back imports of components. Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea would suffer most, with GDP growth down 1.9 percentage points, 1.3 percentage points, and 0.9 percentage point respectively, the economists estimate. Indonesia and India would likely be more resilient because they have more limited manufacturing capacity, they said.

The damage would be compounded should China cut imports for domestic demand. With that factored in, Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong GDP growth would fall 3 percentage points, 2.1 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points, respectively. Japan would see a 0.4 percentage point drop, a significant blow relative to expectations for GDP expansion fractionally above 1 percent.

China would suffer less than many neighbors because it’s become less dependent on exports. The impact looks easy to manage given estimates of 6.5 percent growth this year, they said.

The effects on other regions would generally be modest, though Chile, Germany, South Africa, Peru, Russia and Saudi Arabia have higher exposure to China’s demand, they said, citing estimates based on Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development data.

— With assistance by Kevin Hamlin

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