Trade wars would hit Asia hardest

US_China_trade_warAn escalation in trade hostilities between the US and China would hurt Asian emerging markets most, according to an economist. If China were significantly to devalue its currency as a riposte to American tariffs, the resulting tit-for-tat tariff exchanges between China and its other trade partners would disadvantage countries that rely on exports, such as Thailand and Taiwan, said Craig Botham, Schroders emerging markets economist. “As might be expected, economies in Asia are among the most exposed, with Hungary and Poland also likely to be badly hit,” he said. Botham said there were exceptions such as Malaysia, which is an oil exporter. Because oil is unlikely to be included in tariffs, countries exporting it would not suffer as much as their peers in a global trade war, he said. The economist added that “relatively closed economies like Brazil and India” would be insulated against the effects of tariffs. ©2018 funds global asia

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