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Populist parties in Europe 'more of a threat than Trump' - Pimco

Rising populism in Europe- a bigger threat to global economy than prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, according Pimco

Published: 03rd June 2016 08:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2016 08:02 AM   |  A+A-

LONDON: Rising populism in Europe poses a bigger threat to the global economy than the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, according to the Pacific Investment Management Company.

The bond giant warned that a "radical" political party taking power in the eurozone could tear the bloc apart.

Andrew Balls, the company's chief investment officer of global fixed income, also said the risk of a fresh recession was becoming "worrying", given that the global economy was seven years into recovery and central banks were already at risk of "policy exhaustion".

Mr Balls said the prospect of Mr Trump's election in November would create "a lot of uncertainty" and "a potential risk to the US outlook" that would be negative for US risk assets.

However, he said the Republican candidate was more likely to use the "bully pulpit" of the White House as a platform for his populist agenda rather than to enact sweeping reform.

"Unlike in Europe, [Trump's] powers would be constrained, so it's not obvious that a Trump presidency would struggle to get beyond the gridlock we've seen in recent years," Mr Balls said.

"So I would stress it's more likely to be heightened uncertainty rather than guaranteed disaster."

Mr Balls said the risks in Europe, which is still blighted by high unemployment, were much larger. "Certainly in the European case we could get a highly radical government with a lot of power to implement its policy proposals, and that's a key risk," he said.

"If France ever had an anti-EU leader, that's probably more of an existential risk to the eurozone that what the UK does [on Brexit].

Pimco also said it believed there was a 40pc chance Britain could vote to leave the EU on in the referendum vote on June 23.

Mike Amey, a managing director at Pimco, said the implications of a Brexit were important but would not trigger a global crisis.

"There's a pretty significant chance that we leave. It would be a significant event for the UK, but it wouldn't be a globally systemic event. It wouldn't derail the global economy," he said.

"A country leaving a free trade area is not the same as one leaving the single currency."

In the event that Britain did vote to leave the European Union, Mr Amey said the banking sector could suffer "serious stress", while the Bank of England was likely to "cut interest rates to zero".

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