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Growing US, China trade tensions pose 'significant risk': economist

Warsaw, Poland — Increasing trade tensions -- particularly between China and the US -- pose a "significant risk for the global economy," as well as steel trade, EY Poland Partner and Chief Economist Marek Rozkrut said Monday.

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Speaking during the 78th IREPAS meeting and SteelOrbis Spring Conference in Warsaw, Rozkrut said tariff chatter between the two global leaders is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

"Geopolitical tensions, again, seem to be a new normal," he said. "Personally, I would not expect a sharp end... of this discussion. It's a losing strategy. Nobody wins, with the exception of some individual industries."

However, the trade tensions are playing out against a backdrop of generally positive global economic performance. "Synchronized growth" across regions has global GDP growth expected to be around 3.9% annually in 2018 and 2019, Rozkrut said.

The US, China, Japan, India and the European Union accounted for 70% of global GDP in 2017. In Europe, Germany and Spain have been driving recent growth, he noted.

"This global improvement is associated with growing trade and investment," Rozkrut said. "The expectations for the near future are quite optimistic."

Going forward, he said, "you're going to see more interest rate hikes this year, followed by more tightening (of monetary policy) next year."

--Christopher Davis, chris.davis@spglobal.com
--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com