By Lucinda Shen
February 10, 2017

Fitch didn’t mince its words on Friday when the global credit ratings agency released a report calling the White House under President Donald Trump a potential threat to the global economy, and listed the expected fall out.

A team of analysts, led by Managing Director James McCormack, wrote that the unpredictability of U.S. policy, as well as the Trump Administration’s seeming willingness to break with established international relationships, could destabilize global markets.

“The Trump Administration represents a risk to international economic conditions and global sovereign credit fundamentals,” said the agency, which rates nations on their perceived ability to pay back debts.

Like many analysts, the ratings agency acknowledged that Trump’s tax cuts and infrastructure spending plans could be a boost to the economy, and the new administration could settle in with a consistent message. But that looks unlikely to Fitch at the moment.

“In Fitch’s view, the present balance of risks points toward a less benign global outcome,” the team wrote. “The Administration has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, confirmed a pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebuked US companies that invest abroad, while threatening financial penalties for companies that do so, and accused a number of countries of manipulating exchange rates to the US’s disadvantage.”

Trump’s stance on immigration and trade could alter trade relations, slow international capital flow, decrease remittances, and create prolonged currency and other financial market volatility, the analysts wrote. Among the countries that could be most affected, Fitch listed Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., Netherlands, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

“In short, a lot can change, but the aggressive tone of some Administration rhetoric does not portend an easy period of negotiation ahead, nor does it suggest there is much scope for compromise,” the analysts said.

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