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Dr Doom Marc Faber: Trump trade war will hurt US more than China

If President-elect Donald Trump's rhetoric ends up fueling a trade war with China, it's the U.S. that will take it on the chin, Marc Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, told CNBC on Friday.

"Mr. Trump is not particularly keen on China," Faber told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "There may be some trade war escalation or trade restrictions with China, which in my view would rather be negative for the U.S. than for China."

Trump has certainly set his sights on China. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency in order to give its exports an advantage over U.S.-made goods, and he threatened to slap a tariff of up to 45 percent on Chinese imports.

While China's yuan has fallen against the U.S. dollar in recent months, policymakers on the mainland have been intervening to support the currency, not weaken it.

But Faber, who is also known as Dr. Doom for his usually pessimistic predictions, noted that China wouldn't be easily cowed.

"China does not depend on the U.S. The U.S. is still its largest export destination as a country, but taken together, all the emerging markets are for China much more important," Faber noted.

China exported about $482 billion in goods to the U.S. last year, more than any other country exported to the United States, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The U.S. exported about $116 billion in goods to China in 2015, putting its goods trade deficit $366 billion.

That compared with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) alone importing $211.55 billion from China in 2015, while exporting around $134.25 billion to the mainland, according to data posted in November by the trade bloc.

Marc Faber
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Marc Faber

But Faber wasn't sanguine on the outlook for China's markets.

"We have a credit bubble in China, like, by the way, everywhere else in the world. It's just bigger in China and that, in my view, will have to be deflated," he said.

Dr. Doom also wasn't trusting Wall Street's rally since Trump's election, nothing that Presidents Ronald Reagan and Herbert Hoover also began their tenures with huge rallies, followed by crashes.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 59.71 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 19,858.24, after climbing at one point to a mere 50 points away from hitting the 20,000 mark.

Faber said that the U.S. market was getting toppish.

"If you want to be in equities, the U.S. market is now at the most expensive level compared to Europe, Japan and emerging economies it's ever been," he said. Despite Thursday's gains, "there were more new 12-month lows than new highs."

He wasn't optimistic on how much further the market can run.

"In March 2017, the U.S. bull market will be eight years old. By any standard, this is a very aging bull market. By June 2017, the economic recovery will be eight years old. By any standard, a recovery that is very mature," he noted.

Faber was also pessimistic about the market's prospects under the Trump administration.

"We have to be very careful when we talk about investments. We have a lot of volatility coming toward us. I think that in general people are far too optimistic about the U.S. becoming again a great country," he said. "I doubt that one man alone can do it."

Jacob Pramuk contributed to this article.

—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1

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