A Trump presidency would bite financial markets: Nomura

Donald Trump

Nomura has declared a Trump presidency a major market risk, predicting turbulence ahead if the presumptive Republican nominee takes up residence in the White House.

"No matter what, I think a Trump victory is not good in terms of the financial market reaction," Craig Chan, head of foreign-exchange strategy for Asia ex-Japan at Nomura, said on the sidelines of the Nomura Investment Forum in Singapore Tuesday. "From an economic-financial- political angle, there are huge risks."

Chan, who co-wrote a Nomura report earlier this week highlighting strategies to position for "trade-unfriendly" policies if Trump wins the election, noted that China would be a key focus.

"He's said so much about China, from saying 'I'll name them a foreign-exchange currency manipulator on day one,' to imposing a 45 percent tariff on all Chinese goods, to saying that he wants to stop U.S. manufacturing firms from investing overseas," Chan said.

While Chan added much of that manifesto would be difficult to implement, citing as an example that China doesn't actually meet the legal test to be labeled a currency manipulator, he noted it makes for a lot of uncertainty in markets.

Other Asian nations have begun to express concern, if only obliquely, over U.S.-China ties in the event of a Trump presidency.

"An accommodative relationship between the U.S., a world superpower, and China, a rising power, is critical to Asia's future. A conflict between them will be disastrous for all," Goh Chok Tong, who was Singapore's prime minister from 1990 to 2004 and is currently its emeritus senior minister, said at the Nomura forum Monday.

"Trade is the lifeblood of the region," Goh added.

Singapore often acts as a quiet mediator of disputes across Asia.

Much of the financial market volatility following a potential Trump victory would be related to uncertainty over how many of his promised policies, often delivered off-the-cuff with few details, would actually be pursued, Nomura said in a research note Monday.

But China would likely face volatility, the report said.

"If Mr. Trump (assuming he became the next president) attempted to fully implement his proposals, we would likely see significant downside risks to foreign investment inflows into China, trade friction, negative implications to growth and greater global political uncertainty," it said. "On renminbi, we believe a Trump victory would only exacerbate depreciation risks, given the intensification of macroeconomic and political risks in an already fragile domestic economy."

Nomura also noted that Trump's criticism of the U.S. trade pact with Mexico and Canada, dubbed Nafta, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, could translate into market and economic volatility for both countries.

"The imposition of trade barriers and the cancellation/renegotiation of various trade agreements would be biggest threat to the Canadian economy, as about 75 percent of Canadian exports go to the U.S. However, it is important to note that it could also hurt the U.S. as about 12.5 percent of U.S. exports go to Canada, second only to China," it said.

In addition, Israel, Colombia, Peru, Chile and South Korea all have relatively high exposure to the U.S. market and their free-trade agreements with the U.S. could come under scrutiny.

The Japanese investment bank advised making some "no brainer" foreign-exchange trades based solely on Trump's trade policy rhetoric.

"In the event of a Trump presidency the U.S. dollar would not necessarily weaken across all currencies," the report said.

It expects the greenback would outperform U.S. trade-dependent currencies, including the Mexican peso, the Canadian dollar and China's yuan, but forecast it would underperform against "safe-haven" currencies, such as Japan's yen.

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—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1

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