October 2018 Investment Strategy

A number of clients have called recently regarding the ongoing threat of tariffs and trade wars. The first distinction to make is the difference between NAFTA/Europe and China. The current administration’s criticism of NAFTA (trade with Canada and Mexico) as well as gripes with Europe are largely political theater that reflect promises made during the last presidential election. Confirming this view, the recent trade deals with Mexico and Canada included only minor updates to the current status quo. The dispute with China is a completely different matter. China is racing to acquire world class technology and shift their economy to higher value goods to avoid stagnation. Western countries and companies must protect their technology, making compromise difficult to achieve. We expect these trade tensions to linger for the foreseeable future, but they are unlikely to trigger a major negative economic impact in the short-term. For the next 6-12 months, central bank policy remains the most important factor for investors.

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