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BlackRock says a US-China trade deal is likely this year — but markets won’t be cheering

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a grand ceremony to welcome U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Nov. 9, 2017.

Lan Hongguang | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

There’s still a chance that the U.S. and China could reach a trade deal by the end of this year, but that won’t be enough to cause investors to cheer, according to an investment expert from BlackRock.

Isabelle Mateos y Lago, deputy head of BlackRock’s Official Institutions Group, said Friday that any trade deal between Washington and Beijing will likely be “narrow.” That means the deal won’t likely resolve all the tensions between the two countries, she explained.

The Official Institutions Group under investment firm BlackRock manages $411 billion of assets for entities including central banks and sovereign wealth funds, according to the money manager’s website.

“We do think a trade deal will happen, but let’s be very clear: Will it solve all the underlying tensions between the U.S. and China, in particularly the more strategic issues present in the tech sector? We don’t think so,” Mateos y Lago told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford at the Institute of International Finance’s spring meeting in Japan.

“But a narrow trade deal, we do think ultimately it will happen, and probably before the end of the year,” she added.

In addition to the rivalry between Washington and Beijing, investors are worried about U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent threats to impose a new tariff on Mexico to address his immigration concerns, according to Mateos y Lago.

Even if the U.S. and China manage to resolve their conflict, investor sentiment will still be weighed down, she added.

“There are a number of worries at the same time right now. There’s the U.S.-China tensions, there’s the new tariff threats against Mexico which has roiled markets and sentiment because they seem to signal a new use of tariffs for non-trade related issues, ” she said.

“So, I think if we get resolution on the China front, that’s good. But we’ll need resolution on the Mexico front as well.”

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