President-elect Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of the Chinese government, especially since the November presidential elections.
He has sharply rebuked China trade practices, which Trump sees as imbalanced in favor of China, and irked the Chinese government with his appointment of lawyer Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative (Chinese leaders view Lighthizer as a critic of the country.) Trump has nominated others to high government office, including Wilbur Ross, whom the Chinese government view as hostile to current U.S.-China trade policies.
That scenario hasn't helped China investments, especially key exchange traded funds. For instance, the iShares China Large-Cap (FXI) is down 2% since early December, although the ETF began picking up steam in the last week. Another widely traded ETF, Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI300 CHN (ASHR) , has traded down since the election, finishing the year down 15.59%.
No, the Trump factor isn't the only reason these funds are underperforming, but there's no doubt Wall Street firms are keeping a sharp eye on China, and on the stocks and funds that feature Chinese companies. They're also closely monitoring China's already fragile relationship with the incoming Trump administration, especially on trade.
"Trade policies will likely turn more protectionist," said Schroders, in an email to TheStreet. Although Trump has labeled China as a currency manipulator, it is highly unlikely that the Trump administration will implement draconian policies that will significantly deteriorate the Sino-U.S. trade relationship, the firm states.
"However, the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is likely to be suspended and select products could face higher import tariffs," Schroders notes. "This would generally be negative for global trade growth and select exporters with large U.S. exposure would face more uncertainties."