Rosenberg: Poloz's latest economic commentary 'cherry on the cake'
David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, says the recent changes in the White House are like “a revolving door on steroids” and that he’s concerned about large-scale backlash from escalating global trade tensions.
“It’s a revolving door on steroids,” Rosenberg told BNN in an interview Tuesday. “I thought that Gary Cohn last week was a really big loss, Rex Tillerson is obviously a very big loss. I am concerned that these trade wars are going to lead to a global backlash.”
Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil, was the latest member of Trump’s administration to be shown the door on Tuesday. Last week, Gary Cohn, the U.S. president’s top economic advisor, announced he will leave his post amid an apparent clash over Trump’s plan to impose steel and aluminum tariffs.
While Trump has temporarily excluded Canada and Mexico from the levies as NAFTA renegotiations continue, China and the European Union have vowed to protect their own interests amid the proposed tariffs.
Rosenberg pointed out that while Trump is stirring the global trade pot, the U.S. has become reliant on foreign investors to help with its fiscal deficits.
“At the same time that Donald Trump is embarking on these trade actions, which of course you could say he campaigned on, you got to keep in mind that at the same time, the U.S. Treasury borrowing requirements -- because of these ballooning deficits -- are going to cause America to go cap in hand to foreign [investors] to fund these shortfalls on the fiscal side,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be lost on anybody that half of last year’s US$500-billion deficit in the United States – half of that was financed by foreign investors,” Rosenberg said. “So when you consider that China owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. treasury securities – I’m not going to say China will retaliate to all of this by dumping their treasuries, but what if they just don’t show up the auctions?”
Rosenberg added that protectionist measures will hurt – not help – American workers.
“I firmly believe in Newton’s third law of motion, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” he said.
“And for all the people that think that the protectionism is good news for the working class in the United States – and that we can just willy nilly run up these fiscal deficits at this stage of the cycle — when you consider how important the foreign investor is in that equation, I think the only construct that comes out of this, theoretically or realistically, is higher interest rates in the United States.”