Trump Could Destroy Emerging Markets Linked to U.S., Fund Manager Says

The Republican presidential front-runner has threatened to impose steep tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports.

David Randall
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In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks in Vandalia, Ohio.
Trump at a campaign rally earlier this month, in Ohio.Credit: AP
David Randall

REUTERS - A Donald Trump victory in the November U.S. presidential election would wreak havoc on emerging market stocks, said portfolio manager Rick Schmidt, a co-manager of the $2.4 billion Harding Loevner Emerging Markets stock fund.

"Trump is a nativist and would absolutely destroy" share prices in Mexico and other emerging markets closely linked to the United States, Schmidt said in an interview with Reuters.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, has threatened to impose steep tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports. His ascendancy comes at a time when many emerging markets appear to be rebounding from a two to three year bear market as currency declines have made their exports more competitive, Schmidt said.

His fund's largest holding is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, which has jumped 11.2 percent year to date, and Samsung Electronics Co, which has gained 3 percent.

Overall, Schmidt's fund is up 5.2 percent year to date, outperforming its benchmark index by 7.2 percentage points and putting it in the top quintile of competing funds, according to Morningstar data.

The fund has been moving slowly back into the energy sector but has largely stayed away from oil-producing companies. Instead, Schmidt is focusing on stocks such as Tenaris SA, an Argentinian company that makes pipes used in drilling, as part of a bet that oil prices have already bottomed out.

"We don't know where the price of oil will be a year from now, but we don't think it is going back to down to $20," he said.

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