Billionaire investor George Soros spoke to Bloomberg TV in Davos, and said the euphoria among stock investors since the victory of President-elect Donald Trump will end as uncertainty takes over.
In an interview that may have been even gloomier than his last address to Davos in January 2016, when he said he was short the market, predicted a Chinese hard landing, and said the Fed’s hike was a mistake, on Thursday Soros unleashed the hate, saying America has elected a “would-be dictator” as president, the European Union is disintegrating, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May won’t last long as her nation prepares to secede from the EU, and China is poised to become an even more repressive society.
Talking his book, Soros said that ‘Uncertainty is at a peak, and actually uncertainty is the enemy of long-term investment,” said the chairman of Soros Fund Management. “I don’t think the markets are going to do very well. Right now they’re still celebrating. But when reality comes, it will prevail.”
As a reminder, the WSJ reported last week that Soros lost nearly $1 billion as a result of the stock-market rally spurred by Trump’s surprise win in November. Soros became more pessimistic immediately after Trump’s election. But stocks rallied on expectations that Trump’s policies will boost corporate earnings and the overall economy.
The key highlight of the Soros interview, however, was his vicious slam of his nemesis, Donald Trump, saying “I have described him as an impostor and con man, and a would be dictator” and said that “I’m personally convinced he’s going to fail” because the “the policies that guide him are inherently self-contradictory.”
He said that “Trump would be a dictator if he could get away with it” but believes that the Constitution of the United States is strong enough to prevent Trump from taking too much power.
As a reminder, Soros was one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors, and has spent millions to prevent Trump from entering the White House.
He also said that it’s impossible to predict exactly how Trump will act because he hasn’t actively thought it through, he was surprised when he won. He added that he only started thinking seriously about what he would do after he was elected.
Some other notable quotes via Forexlive:
- Trump stands for a government that’s the opposite of an open society, something like a dictatorship or a mafia state
- Trump believes his ideas are the will of the people so anyone who is against him is against the people
- Markets will falter as uncertainty takes over
Speaking about Europe and the UK, he said that Europe is in the process of disintegration. “If Europe breaks down, the consequences will be very dire,” the investor said. “But I do see a way it could be saved, and this is also recognized by many of the people in Brussels. They can’t say so publicly, but they know that Europe is not functioning.”
He forecast that “if Europe breaks down, the consequences will be very dire, it’s currently going on the wrong direction.”
He also took aim at the UK saying, “it is unlikely that Prime Minister May is actually going to remain in power,” adding she has a divided cabinet and base and Britons are in denial about the economic impact of Brexit. He predicted that inflation will be the force that will lead to declining living standards in the UK but said that it would take some time.
Going back to China and Trump, Soros then said that Trump is definitely gearing up for a trade war with China which is irreconcilable with economic prosperity. He pointed out that, ironically, Trump would do more to make China an acceptable leader of the international community than Chinese could do by themselves.
Soros continued to take a dim view of China’s economy, saying the nation is at a decision point and must choose whether to become a more open or closed society as it transitions to a consumer-led economy. “China has not actually succeeded yet in changing its growth model and probably won’t do it in the next two years because Xi Jinping wants to maintain an unsustainable rate of growth,” he said. Jinping “is doing that by rekindling the furnaces and producing more goods that are already in supply.”
He also predicted that if Trump names China a currency manipulator, they will retaliate.
Finally, on the topic of China, he also warned that a trade war can easily spiral in a real military conflict.
To move forward, he called for cohesion among for unity and said that he hopes “the people who believe in an open society can get together.”
He concluded by expressing his frustration with the recent Hungarian crackdown on his various NGOs, reading from a pre-written statement and saying that the processes taking place in his native country impair human values and democracy.