After the “trade truce” at the G20 it was looking more like the US and China may get a trade deal done soon. However, news out recently says otherwise, as China has not boosted its purchases of US agricultural products. Such a move was a key tenet of the agreement Trump apparently struck with Xi at the G20, but Beijing has not followed through on the promise. Trump complained publicly about this yesterday, but China denies they ever made such an agreement.
FINSUM: This seems small and petty but it is precisely not the direction that one would like these talks to be headed in.
Donald Trump did something many might not have expected when he met Xi Jinping recently at the G20 conference: he told him he would dial down the criticism of China regarding the demonstrations in Hong Kong in order to get Beijing back to the negotiating table. The offer apparently echoed a previous one he had made to Xi in the week leading up to the conference. The plan worked and China has agreed to resume trade talks.
FINSUM: While many may disagree with the concession to China, we think this shows one thing very clearly: Trump does not want to let the trade war derail the US economy or markets and will likely do whatever is in his power to keep them afloat.
Will the US and China make a substantial trade deal? That is a trillion Dollar question for markets. Some argue that China may defer doing any deal and take the risk that Trump does not win the election, effectively letting the clock run out. However, an astute view is that China might be desperate to do deal while Trump is still in office. The reason why is that if Trump were to lose to a Democrat, who in all likelihood would be a more conventional US president that takes a much friendlier approach with international allies, then China would be in a very compromised position. A Democratic president would likely approach the Chinese trade deal with a much more united front of trade allies, which would be a worst case scenario for Beijing.
FINSUM: The irony of this is that Trump has been by far the hardest president on China in memory, but at the same time, the Chinese have the best chance at a good resolution by dealing with him.
If you are feeling some relief because of the “trade truce” between the US and China, don’t. At least that is what Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are saying. Morgan Stanley explains that the current rally is very reminiscent of what happened last November, just before the market imploded and had the worst December on record. At that time, the US and China had another truce which sent markets rallying. However, bigger tensions loomed larger and set the market up for a historic fall. One of the big issues was that the seeming ”truce” stopped inventory managers from purchasing because there was no more incentive to stockpile.
FINSUM: The most interesting view here is the idea that the markets are trapped between the “Powell Put” and the “Trump Call”. That is the concept that every time markets are doing well, Trump will try to drive a harder bargain with China, and if the market falls, Powell will cut rates. In this way, markets could be trapped in a banded range.
Trump and Xi are meeting this weekend alongside the G20, and the encounter seems likely to pivotal in the trade war between the US and China. No one is expecting a whole lot, but there is some hope of a potentially positive new path. The more likely outcome, however, appears to be an escalation of the conflict. If that happens, with both sides raising tariffs and escalating rhetoric, a mild global recession over the next six quarters seems probably, says UBS. This would likely prompt global rate cutting by central banks.
FINSUM: This seems like a decent forecast. The irony is that because of their ability to stimulate, the US and Chinese markets will probably be hurt the least by this, as it will more likely be emerging markets that take a hit.