But Trump’s leverage may be short-lived. The president’s political power will be curtailed if the Democrats win the House in congressional elections in November, as they are favored to do. While the U.S. economy has so far appeared resilient to the trade war, the boost from this year’s tax cuts is expected to fade.
Meanwhile, China’s economy is showing some signs of cooling, but it’s still growing at a brisk pace, giving Beijing room to cushion the blow. President Xi Jinping, who cemented his hold on power in March with the repeal of term limits, has reason to be patient.
“The issue of leverage varies with time. If you ask the same question tomorrow, the calculus will have shifted ever so slightly in favor of China,” said Stephen Jen, CEO of Eurizon Slj Capital Ltd., an asset-management firm based in London. “If you ask the question a week from now, things will be even more in favor of China.”