President Trump has just ordered $200 bn of further tariffs to be applied to Chinese goods. The Chinese have responded strongly, vowing to retaliate to the measures. The Chinese government said “We have been stressing that talks need to happen on the basis of parity, equality and good faith … What the US has done shows no sincerity and good faith at all”. The Chinese says they will impose tariffs on $110 bn of US goods, or about 85% of all US imports to the country.
FINSUM: These tariffs come just before the US and China were set to hold another round of trade talks. We have no idea how those are progressing, but this is really going to anger the Chinese.
One moment it seems like détente, the next, all out economic war. Well, the latter seems to be stealing the stage this week, as the US and China are trading barbs over trade. The Trump administration is set to impose a fresh round of tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods. The new tariffs come just as the US and China were planning to have a fresh round of negotiations on trade. However, China make be backing away from such talks, as a senior Chinese official recently said “China is not going to negotiate with a gun pointed to its head”.
FINSUM: There is so much back and forth and “noise” in this trade battle with China that it is very hard to get a fix on what is actually happening.
Right now it does not seem like it has a high likelihood, but given the current direction of antipathy towards Trump, a sweep by Democrats in the midterm elections could happen. If it does (as opposed to the more likely option of Democrats only taking the House), the following sectors should do well, says Barron’s. These include: consumer staples, utilities, and real estate, all rate-sensitive sectors. The reason why is that Democrats are expected to push through a big infrastructure spending plan if they win, which would create deflation and keep rates pinned.
FINSUM: This is quite an insightful take on what might flourish if Democrats do have a breakthrough. It seems unlikely, but then again, it seemed unlikely Trump was going to win going into election night!
It would be an understatement to say that a lot is riding on the midterms. Control of Congress is at stake, and within it, the whole policy agenda of the country. The stakes are even higher because of how politically divided the country is. Many think the Democrats will take the house but lose the Senate, resulting in a split Congress. This puts many investors at ease because it could block some of the right’s more extreme impulses (such as those against free trade). However, there is reason to worry that Republicans might fare far worse. That reason is that Donald Trump is the most unpopular president ever in such a buoyant economy. According to one polling expert, “There’s a huge disconnect … The economy doesn’t seem to be dominating in a way that it often does in elections”.
FINSUM: Our worry for the Republicans is that Trump is making the midterms more about himself than the party, and given the high degree of disapproval, that approach could really end up costing Republicans in the midterms. Consider an all-blue Congress come November a considerable tail risk.
Ever since the now infamous “op-ed” about Trump’s inner circle appeared in the New York Times earlier this week, there has been increasing discussion of the 25th amendment, so we thought it would be good to give a quick primer on it. Basically what the amendment allows for is a president’s cabinet to remove them from office if they are deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office. The vice president and a majority of the cabinet need to agree in order to remove the president. But if the president protests, it takes a 2/3 majority in Congress to remove the head of state. It has never been used to remove a president and was only ratified in 1963.
FINSUM: Given the likelihood that Trump would protest any move, a 2/3 majority in Congress seems like a massive obstacle for anyone trying to remove the president.
The US and Mexico’s last minute trade deal before a deadline this week left investors wondering what happened to Canada. Trump and the US’ northern neighbor have been in a spat on trade, but the US-Mexico breakthrough has apparently proven a catalyst for renewed talks. Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has flown into Washington directly from Europe and will restart talks this morning as part of a last minute effort to reach a deal with the US.
FINSUM: Having Canada in on any new-Nafta deal seems very important, but we don’t doubt that a deal may not materialize given the current environment.