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Trump is a 'transactional president' but may not rock the boat on China, Standard Chartered CEO says

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Bill Winters, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered, said the U.S. Federal Reserve looks set to pause its interest rate cycle in June get a better read on the latest inflation data.

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump would be a "transactional president" if he returns to power, but is unlikely to blow up the Biden administration's rebuilding of relations with China, according to Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters.

Trump won the Iowa caucus by around 30 points over his closest rival and is the clear favorite to secure the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, despite facing 91 felony counts across numerous criminal cases relating to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, mishandling of classified documents and hush-money payments to a porn star.

During his last term in office, Trump took a combative stance toward Beijing and triggered a trade war with a slew of tariffs on Chinese goods and constant threats of more economically punitive measures.

President Joe Biden's administration has sought to repair the fragile relationship. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visited China last summer, and Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' meeting in San Francisco in November.

 Trump is 'transactional' but may not rock the boat on China

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Winters said Washington and Beijing are now "pretty interlinked" and that for any president to "aggressively disentangle" would be bad for the U.S., Chinese and global economies.

"Nobody really wants that or needs that right now, so I think the slight re-engagement that we're seeing through the Biden administration, visits from the Commerce Secretary and Janet Yellen etc., are an indication to me that the U.S. is looking to stabilize," he said.

"If Trump becomes president, we know that he's a transactional president, and there's probably a transaction in there someplace that keeps the economy on an even keel without fundamentally disrupting that relationship, but of course we watch all the time and we're well aware that there could be either unintended consequences or accidents, but I'm staying pretty optimistic that we could avoid the worst."

Though it's headquartered in the U.K., Standard Chartered earns most of its revenue in Asia, and Winters also said he remains "very optimistic about the Chinese economy in the medium-, long-term" despite its well-documented short-term headwinds.

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