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Ray Dalio, the world’s biggest hedge fund manager, is becoming “increasingly concerned” over the Trump administration, worried by the dangers of “nationalism, protectionism and militarism”, Bloomberg has reported.

Mr Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, was initially cautiously positive on the prospects of a business-friendly, deregulatory and spendthrift government led by Donald Trump, hopeful that the US could end its economic lethargy.

But the flurry of controversial executive orders that followed president Trump’s inauguration on January 20 appears to have dimmed his enthusiasm.

Mr Trump’s “America First” policy, his executive order on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries and protectionist rhetoric are reminiscent of the populist governments in the 1930s, Mr Dalio and Bob Prince, his co-chief investment officer, wrote in Bridgewater’s ‘Daily Observations’ note to clients on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

“Nationalism, protectionism and militarism increase global tensions and the risks of conflict. For these reasons, while we remain open-minded, we are increasingly concerned about the emerging policies of the Trump administration,” the note said.

Bridgewater manages about $160bn, and now recommends investors avoid big bets and advises them to hold more easy-to-sell assets handy due to “exceptional uncertainty” surrounding the investment environment.

“While there is a lot of potential to improve fiscal policies and make beneficial structural reforms (to enhance the business friendly environment, reduce regulatory inefficiencies, etc.), there is also significant risk that his populist policies could hurt the world economy (and worse),” the Bridgewater note said.

“We are now in a period of time when how this balance tilts will be more important to the economy, markets, and our well-beings than normally dominant drivers such as central bank policies,” Mr Dalio and Mr Prince argued.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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