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Trump’s escalation of the trade war is going to trigger a “chain reaction of negative events around the world,” says Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of deVere Group.

This warning comes as global markets are in turmoil as Donald Trump’s administration announced a long list of new products that tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China will be levied against.

Mr Green comments: “Trump’s escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies is going to trigger a chain reaction of negative events around the world.

“It is going to lead to higher inflation in the U.S, as import tariffs raise the cost of imported goods while domestic producers find that they can increase their prices as foreign competition weakens. This means interest rates will be hiked and the dollar will go up.”

He explains: “China’s cheap goods have helped keep prices, and therefore US and global inflation, low.

“To counteract increasing inflation, the US Federal Reserve is even more likely to raise interest rates.  A jump in rates will, of course, strengthen the dollar.

“A stronger dollar also increases stress in emerging markets, many of which have borrowed heavily in recent years in dollars and who now find interest and capital repayments on these loans have shot up in local currency terms. In addition, emerging markets are particularly vulnerable to a downturn in exports resulting from a rise in quotas and import by the US, given that exports are a key driver of growth for many under-developed countries with China the most obvious example’.

Mr Green goes on to say: “Trump’s trade war is a masterclass in self harm for the US and global economy.”

The deVere CEO stated last week that investors must now avoid complacency and ensure their portfolios are properly diversified to mitigate risks and take advantage of potential opportunities that all bouts of market volatility bring.

He said: “Investors need to brace themselves for months of heightened posturing from the different parties, which is likely to increase market turbulence.

“And as Trump potentially marches off to a trade war, a good fund manager will help investors sidestep the risks and embrace potential opportunities.”

(Source: deVere group)

Last week, stock markets fell globally in the wake of US President Trump's latest tariffs threats to China. Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on an extra $200bn (£141bn) of Chinese goods, further fueling the prospects and worries of a trade war.

This week Finance Monthly set out to hear Your Thoughts on the potential for an international trade war, gaging the opinions of experts and professionals around the world.

We asked them: What do you think about this? How will this change things internationally? What might be the short-term reactions and impacts? What about the long term? How will you be affected? How will small businesses be affected? Who will benefit from what's to come? Is this a good strategy? What are the political and social repercussions?

Miles Eakers, Chief Market Analyst, Centtrip:

Investors are right to be concerned as Wall Street futures dropped by almost 2% following Trump’s threats to impose more tariffs. Any retaliation by Beijing is likely to fuel the escalating trade war with Washington, which will in turn have a negative impact on equities and increase risk aversion.

Investors are not the only ones troubled by the current situation. The world’s largest superpowers’ shift towards protectionism has global ramifications. International companies may grow less competitive due to tariffs and the cost of raw materials purchased overseas could rise by 10–20%. It’s highly possible that any further action from the US or China could put an end to the current 10-year bull market run.

Kasim Zafar, Portfolio Manager, EQ Investors:

An all-out trade war is unlikely and we believe this will be avoided in favour of mutually agreeable changes on both sides.

The world last entered trade wars on this scale early during the Great Depression. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was entered into US law in June 1930, about 8 months after the “great crash”. There are mixed opinions on whether the tariffs added to the economic depression or only slowed down the ensuing recovery. But it is generally agreed the tariffs themselves were not the main cause of the Great Depression

Today there are few, if any, of the conditions that presaged the Great Depression. But the world is a different place today compared to the 1930’s. The most significant difference is the interconnected nature of global supply chains that have been built by companies in the post-War era. Abrupt changes along the supply chain in terms of physical supply or associated cost will have immediate impacts on the total costs of production. Companies are not charities, so if the cost of production goes up, so too will product prices on the shelf.

The impacts will differ between companies and across nations dependent upon:

The UK runs a goods deficit of over £130 billion per annum of which about 10% is with the US directly. So for the average UK consumer, the direct implication of US originated tariffs on items we buy is fairly limited in scope. The impact of tariffs on things we sell is limited also with only about 10% of UK exports heading for the US directly. The bigger risk we face is the secondary impacts from companies and countries that are impacted to a higher degree:

Carlo Alberto De Casa, Chief Analyst, ActivTrades

The trade war escalation is unsurprisingly scaring the markets. The main reason for this is actually the belief that this is only the beginning of the escalation, as China has already clarified that it will reply to US tariffs with its own. Of course, this could have many impacts. In the short term, US companies which are importing will have to pay more, while advantages for US producers will be positive, even if that’s a much smaller proportion overall. But what is scaring markets is definitely the long-term scenario, that the trade war will grow to affect more economical sectors.

This won’t only affect the big companies, it could also have a serious impact on smaller ones and retail consumers. A typical example to explain this is something like the beer can, the cost of which will rise due to the aluminum tariffs. The implications can be far wider than what you might originally think.

It is difficult to say whether this is a good strategy; we can surely affirm that this is a risky strategy as you can’t completely predict or control the effects it will have, especially in the long term. The ball is now firmly in the court of those who trade with America.

There’s little certainty that this will help drive the US economy. If this is the effect wanted by Donald Trump, then you have to consider that the tariffs which will be decided by other countries are what will drive the results. It could at best create jobs in one sector, but the additional jobs generated will likely result in a loss in other sectors. Overall, it’s hard to see this policy accomplishing its goals.

Bodhi Ganguli, Chief Economist, Dun & Bradstreet:

Rising protectionist measures from the US government are creating significant uncertainty for global businesses and adding to cross-border risks. After some optimism that the US hardline stance on tariffs was softening a bit, new announcements from the administration have re-ignited fears that the ongoing skirmishes could blow up into a full-fledged trade war, particularly between the US and China. The latest announcement came from President Trump on 22nd June when he threatened to impose new tariffs of 20% on auto imports from the EU unless the EU removed tariffs on US goods. It should be noted that, some of these EU tariffs on US exports went into effect earlier the same day; these were retaliatory tariffs in response to US tariffs already implemented on steel and aluminum (most trading partners were exempted, except the EU, Canada and Mexico). Equity prices of major European automakers dropped immediately following the announcement, highlighting the intricacies of global supply chains and their dependence on smooth trade flows between nations. In fact, all major global stock markets have seen episodes of selloffs in the past few weeks in reaction to worries that trade restrictions are rising.

The latest round of proposed US barriers to free trade have come with a pronounced inclination by the US to move away from traditional norms of multilateralism based on the WTO principles, including measures specifically directed at longtime allies like the EU and Canada. This has the potential to spill over into other areas of geopolitical risk, and pose added headwinds to the global economy. While the extent of the EU retaliation is modest so far, other countries are stepping up or planning ‘tit-for-tat’ tariffs against the US. India just hiked tariffs on a selection of US goods, while similar Canadian tariffs are scheduled to come into effect on 1st July. Of course, the biggest risk of disruption comes from the US-China spat; earlier the same week, China threatened to hit back with a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures after President Trump ordered his team to identify USD200b in Chinese imports for additional tariffs of 10% with provision for another USD200b after that if China retaliates. The global economy is still expanding; although divergences in policy are signaling desynchronization in the near term, it can still withstand some fluctuations in equity indexes. But the bigger underlying risk is that if the trade rhetoric does not die down, or if it becomes a significant headwind, stock markets will face sustained downward trends as investor confidence is impaired, eventually leading to a spillover into the real economy.

We would also love to hear more of Your Thoughts on this, so feel free to comment below and tell us what you think!

Bitcoin is becoming a pretty normal currency in transactions worldwide, and it hasn’t failed to infiltrate paychecks either. So, if a salary is paid in part or in full in bitcoin, how is the income taxed? And how is tax applied to transactions anyway? Fiona Cincotta, Senior Market Analyst at City Index, clarifies the matter for Finance Monthly.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency, that can be generated by mining or bought using cash, credit card or a paypal account. Bitcoin began in 2009. At the start, one of the advantages of bitcoin was the fact that is wasn’t regulated and could be used in transactions to avoid tax obligations. However, tax authorities caught on and since then tax authorities across the globe have been trying to introduce and advance regulation on the bitcoin.

Whilst the cryptocurrencies exist on a global network, tax regulations in general differ for each country around the world. However, broadly speaking most tax authorities are on the same page when it comes to the treatment of the bitcoin.

As a general rule, buying a bitcoin anywhere in the world is not a taxable operation in itself. However, taxes are likely to occur when you sell that bitcoin, or possibly spend the bitcoin, and make a profit in the process.

How much you would be taxed on the transaction would then depend on several factors:

Again, generally speaking, most countries do not consider virtual currencies to be “currencies” from a tax point of view. Instead they are treated as a property or capital asset. This means that any gains are taxed as capital gains in the year that they are realised.

As with property, capital gains tax is liable on profits, meanwhile should an investor realise a loss from a bitcoin transaction, the investor would be able to deduct any losses and therefore reduce the tax bill.

Realization happens when the bitcoin is exchanged for any other type of other property. This could be cash, services or products. Essentially almost any transaction which involves the bitcoin is in fact a realisation event and therefore gains are taxable. The following transactions could be taxable events:

Scenarios which involve mining of bitcoin followed by either selling or exchanging for goods or services afterwards, will mean that the value received for the bitcoin is taxed as personal or business income, after subtracting any expenses incurred from mining eg cost electricity.

Meanwhile the other two examples, taker the bitcoin as an investment asset. Gain are taxed regardless whether the bitcoin was exchanged for money or goods or services. To cement this point let’s consider the following example. Should you own bitcoins that have increased in value, it is impossible to use them with realising a gain. Using the bitcoin to purchase a service or good, for example, is considered to be two transactions. One, selling out or realising the gain on the bitcoin and the second, being the purchase of the service or product. Few tax authorities would allow such a blatant loophole, as to not tax the transaction and ascension of wealth.

However, the implication of this is that every transaction involving the bitcoin is taxable. This in itself raises questions over the effectiveness of bitcoin as a medium of exchange, if the user has to calculate the tax liability after every transaction. So, the possibility now exists that over taxation of crypto currencies, could lead to their death.

As mentioned at the beginning tax implications can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The IRS in the US has a fairly standard approach to bitcoin taxation. The UK’s HMRC takes a more personalised approach and has has specifically said that it considers tax on bitcoins on a case by case basis. Whilst such a personalised approach is fine now, should the bitcoin increase in popularity HMRC may find its resources strained.

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