U.S. President Donald Trump's trade offensive against Beijing coincided with a drop in his disapproval ratings, Nomura Head of Emerging Market Economics Rob Subbaraman and analyst Michael Loo wrote in a recent note.
"Perhaps President Trump's efforts to deliver on some of his harsher campaign rhetoric on trade are starting to shore up his core support base. Moreover, the data are in his favor: The U.S. trade deficit with China has increased over most of his presidency," the Nomura analysts wrote.
"Whether there is causality between Trump’s growing trade protectionism and his lower disapproval rating is unclear, but if he believes there is and continues to up the ante against China, the global economy will likely suffer," they added, referring to the decline in Trump's disapproval rating from 56 percent in December to the roughly 53 percent current figure, according to data analysis website FiveThirtyEight.
If, however, Trump's polling numbers suffer on any trade-linked issues, then that may mean the White House will take a more moderate approach with Beijing, according to Jasslyn Yeo, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.