Displaying items by tag: trade
There have been many stories about how coronavirus could hurt the economy. We have covered the extent to which fears of the virus have hurt various sectors as well as general Chinese factory production. Today we have some concrete stats on how the virus is hurting trade. So far, there have been about 350,000 less shipping containers leaving China than there would have been without the virus. Dockworkers at major ports are sitting idle as nothing arrives. Fears of job losses are mounting because workers have nothing to do. The 350,000 figure includes China to Americas shipments as well as China to Europe shipments.
FINSUM: That is a phenomenal amount of production if you think about it, and that is only a portion of the export market. We think there is a good chance of a Chinese recession that may trickle into the global economy.
The global economy has not been in worse shape from a trade perspective n several years. Despite progress in the trade war between China and the US, global trade continued to drop in the past couple of months and was down over 1% from its 2018 level in November. Perhaps most worryingly, the falls were broad-based, with the Eurozone, the US, Latin America, and emerging Asia all seeing falls in trade.
FINSUM: The big question here is whether this is just policy-related or whether there is a real decline in economic momentum that is not yet showing up in other figures. Time will tell.
One asset manager called last year’s fourth quarter stock rout perfectly, and they are doubling down, saying it will happen again this year. Principal Global Investors’ Seema Shah says that stocks are facing another imminent selloff if the US and China can’t get a trade deal done before the December 15th tariff deadline. “If that trade deal doesn’t happen and if everything falls apart and it feels like tensions are getting worse, then I think we are facing a potential repeat of last year, and it will be worse”, said Shah. She says that the shock could be even bigger than in other parts of the year because of how liquidity disappears in December.
FINSUM: So we are dubious on this call, but what is interesting to us is that this argument was published on November 28th, and since then Trump has backtracked on the trade deal timeline.
Trump’s tariffs are having a major impact on the US’ trading relationships. The data has been showing such, but now there is a very significant data point: China is no longer the US’ largest trading partner. Mexico has now assumed that position. The decline in trade with China comes alongside an escalating trade war that has seen tariff hikes and restrictions on both sides.
FINSUM: We are now officially of the position that this trade war with China will not be resolved any time soon, so this decline in trading seems to be the end of an era.
The US and Mexico have reached an important trade agreement after a year of acrimonious bickering over Nafta. The new deal, from which Canada is conspicuously absent, will put harder trade restrictions on Mexico. The deal is a sign that Trump and the US are willing to ease their fight with neighbors as the country ramps up a battle with China. The Trump administration was in a rush to get a deal done before a power change coming in Mexico. The deal will no longer be called Nafta, but the US-Mexico trade agreement.
FINSUM: This is encouraging from our perspective. The last thing we want right now is a multi-fronted trade war. Hopefully a deal with Canada can be reached as well.