Euro zone shares would suffer more than their US counterparts in the event of a full-blown global trade war but emerging markets would likely take an even bigger hit.
This is according to research published by the European Central Bank today.
Trade tensions have risen this year as the US imposed a plethora of protectionist measures, mostly tariffs on China, raising the risk of an escalation that could exacerbate an already notable slowdown in worldwide trade.
"US equity prices would fall by about 10% and US corporate bond spreads would increase by up to 100 basis points in the first year," in an all-out trade war, the ECB said.
It described that scenario as 25% import tariffs imposed by all countries on each other.
"In the euro area, equity prices would fall by 15% and corporate bond spreads would increase by 150 basis point in the first year," the ECB added in a chapter of its Financial Stability Review.
But emerging markets would suffer a more than 20% fall in share prices and a more than 400 basis point rise in risk premia, the ECB said.
Up to now, European shares have fallen about as much as their US counterparts after the announcement of protectionist measures, the study said.
If the tensions escalated but remained quite limited, those symmetrical price drops would likely continue, it added.
Shares dropped by a cumulative 7% on both sides of the Atlantic around key announcements of protectionist measures earlier this year and the drop was 12% for companies specifically impacted by the announcements.
"The symmetric reaction between the United States and the euro area suggests that markets view increases in tariffs as a lose-lose situation for all parties involved," the research said.
"The reason for this likely lies in anticipated retaliation and second-round effects, which are mostly interpreted as a lose-lose situation for the global economy," the study added.