U.S. bankers tell Europeans to think positively on Trump

Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:40am EST
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By Carmel Crimmins and Pamela Barbaglia

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - U.S. bankers, buoyed by a resurgence in profits, are advising their counterparts in Europe to think positively about the new administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

But many Europeans still need convincing.

At the annual gathering of the world's political and business elites in the Swiss resort of Davos, U.S. financiers told investors and overseas' rivals to focus less on Trump's anti-globalization rhetoric and more on his cabinet picks, comprising of Wall Street veterans and corporate bosses.

Many European bankers fear Trump, who campaigned on an "America first" platform and who has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, could trigger a trade war with the world's second-largest economy.

Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L: Quote) and a former deputy governor of the Spanish central bank, said there was a lot of unease over whether the Republican's campaign rhetoric would translate into his policies as president.

"In Europe, there is concern and trepidation about Trump's administration and how his politics will affect global trade and finance," he told Reuters.

"Any form of protectionism will likely ultimately make the U.S. economy less competitive and be bad news for the world," said Vinals, who has previously built up an expertise on Asian markets, including China, while working as a senior official at the International Monetary Fund.

But Mary Callahan Erodes, who runs the asset management arm of U.S. bank JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote), sought to assuage concerns about the incoming White House administration. She told the World Economic Forum that Trump's officials, including former Goldman Sachs bankers Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, would push a pro-business agenda that would drive economic growth.   Continued...

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump listens to questions from reporters while appearing with Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma after their meeting at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., January 9, 2017.   REUTERS/Mike Segar