Earlier this morning former White House Strategist Steve Bannon spoke at the CLSA investor forum in Hong Kong. While the event was originally intended to be open to the press via a live stream, CLSA officials later closed the interview to outsiders...presumably Bannon's flare doesn't quite fit with China's desire to control media narratives. That said, luckily one local NEAsia correspondent, Wei Du, was kind enough to live tweet portions of Bannon's speech for our reading pleasure.
Ironically, what was billed to be an "anti-China" speech turned out to be anything but that with Bannon repeatedly praising U.S.-China relations and saying "there isn't a world leader he (Trump) respects more than the President of China." Bannon went on to say that Trump will visit China in November and that the downside of an "economic war" with China is so huge that it has to be worked out.
On domestic issues, Bannon thinks a tax reform deal is pretty unlikely this year and that Paul Ryan's border tax adjustment has "ZERO chance of passing." Of course, we can only assume that no tax deal in 2017 is a positive for stocks because it must mean that more time will allow for an even greater tax bill in 2018.
That said, Bannon would apparently prefer that Trump avoid "working with dems."
On "America First," Bannon said there is a "big misunderstanding" that the term implies isolationism when it was really intended to mean that the Trump administration will pursue bilateral deals as opposed large, multi-nation accords where American sovereignty is sacrificed.
On future plans, Bannon said that he left the White House because Trump needed a "wing man" on the outside and that he has plans to expand Breitbart News internationally.
Finally, apparently Bannon is not a 'yuge' fan of Google and/or Facebook...