We talked yesterday about the significance of Dow 20,000. Higher stock prices are fuel for higher stock prices. And higher stock prices are fuel for better economic growth. It's all self-reinforcing, and we discussed the reasons why stocks can still go much, much higher from here.
As I said, this serves as a validation marker for some that have been waiting to see what the Trump effect might be on markets. If you've listened to the consensus voice on Trumponomics, they've told you over and over how disastrous the protectionist rhetoric would be the U.S. economy and for the world. I've said, given the position of the world, post-Great recession, that Trump's tough talk is leverage that can be used to ultimately create a fair playing field on trade, which can ultimately lead toward a rebalancing of the global economy -- something that has to take place to put the world back on a path of sustainable growth, and end the cycle of booms and busts. That's a win-win for everyone.
We've seen it working with industry leaders (they're playing ball). And expect a similar outcome on the geopolitical front. This approach doesn't work in normal times, but we're not in normal times, almost a decade after the onset of the global financial crisis -- where global economies remain weak and vulnerable.
With this in mind, Mexico and Canada are in focus with the announcement this week of the NAFTA renegotiation, the wall and the Keystone pipeline. And the media is hot and heavy on the cancellation of a trip to the White House by the Mexican President.
Let's take a look at how Trumponomics is working for our two biggest trading partners, thus far.
This is the chart of the dollar versus the Mexican Peso. The rising line represents the dollar strengthening and the peso weakening, and vice versa.
If we look at this exchange rate as a gauge of trade partner health, we've seen the peso hit hard through the campaigning period under the protectionist fears of a Trump administration – and post election. That has represented a negative-scenario message for Mexico. But since the inauguration, the peso has been strengthening (not weakening), even as President Trump signed an executive order to renegotiate NAFTA. The message behind that usually means: the U.S. does better, Mexico does better.
What about Mexican stocks? Similar story. As the U.S. stock market is on record highs, the Mexican stock market too, is sitting on record highs. When the prospects are better for U.S. growth, our trade partners do better.
What about Canada? The same story. The Canadian stock market is on record highs.
The worst-case scenarios are good fodder for attracting readers and viewers. That's why the media is obsessively focused on the potential negatives. But with some perspective on the bigger picture, and with respect to the position of the world coming out of the crisis period, those worst-case scenarios have lower probabilities than they think, and would have you believe. That's why reality is crafting a very different story.
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