The tariff battle between the United States and China has not yet entered a stage where it’s a trade war, and it’s likely “sanity” will ultimately prevail, according to the chairman of Swiss investment bank UBS.
Donald Trump said he was ready to hit China with another $267 billion in tariffs. Beijing has warned that it would retaliate.
“It’s not at a stage where it’s a trade war. I think there is a good chance that sanity will prevail ultimately,” Weber said, but he acknowledged that there is still an increasing risk.
One potential area of concern for market watchers is that Beijing could retaliate against the tariff threats from the Trump administration by allowing its currency to continually depreciate against the dollar. The yuan has been a sore point for a number of U.S. administrations, which have blasted Beijing for allowing the currency to weaken to help exports.
Weber disagreed that the drop in the yuan is a big risk in the ongoing trade dispute.
“If you look at investments into China from foreign investors, those foreign investors would be lot more cautious if they fear that the Chinese currency would depreciate in a strategic, or in a tactical, manner,” he said, adding that based on his conversations with various officials in Beijing, it didn’t seem like artificially lowering the yuan was part of the policy.
A stable currency is in Beijing’s interest and the recent yuan decline is similar to the way other emerging market currencies fell in recent months against the greenback, Weber explained.
Many strategists are skeptical that the ongoing trade tensions will not abate until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, even after a report said that American officials were seeking a round of high-level talks with their Beijing counterparts before the next round of tariffs are imposed. Others worry that those trade tensions would worsen following the election.
For Weber’s part, he said China has demonstrated some momentum of opening up to the globe, so the U.S. and others should not push Beijing beyond a level where it is willing and able to negotiate to solve the ongoing dispute.
— CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed to this report.