Wall Street analysts can't agree if the trade war threat is real

09 April, 2018, 00:45 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • China announces tariffs on certain US products

Trump, in light of what he called China's "unfair retaliation" against earlier United States trade actions, had upped the ante on Thursday by ordering USA officials to identify extra tariffs, escalating a tit-for-tat confrontation with potentially damaging consequences for the world's two biggest economies.

US President Donald Trump responded on Twitter to Beijing's tariff plans, saying America was not in a trade war with China, but that it had a trade deficit of US$500 billion a year and "intellectual property theft of another US$300 billion".

" Does not want a trade war because no one will emerge as a victor", said Wang Shouwen. He's also asked for a $100 billion reduction in the USA trade deficit with China, about a third of the total gap recorded past year. When China initially announced a 25 percent tariff on USA beans, the market collapsed by over 50 cents per bushel, a loss of nearly 5 percent in value overnight. While the U.S. has listed 1,300 Chinese goods, worth $50 billion, on which it plans to impose hefty tariff, Beijing issued a $50-billion list of United States goods, ranging from soybeans to small aircraft, for possible tariff hikes in an escalating bilateral dispute. "It is patently political rhetoric created to show the great US agricultural breadbasket, most of which is Trump country, that Trump will defend its interests strongly against Chinese threats as USA politics enter the midterm elections season with Republican Congressional majorities at stake".

Before the opening bell, the S&P is down 1.7 percent, with the Dow and the Nasdaq over 2 percent lower.

Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares - the second largest private steel manufacturer in the UAE, said the steel manufacturers in the UAE are not anxious or concerned by the imposition of tariffs on steel imports by the US. Mizuho Securities believe that both "China and the U.S. will eventually scale back its list of reciprocal tariffs and we do not look for an all-out trade war between China and the United States".


If the United States side disregards opposition from China and the global community and insists on carrying out unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will follow through, at any costs, till the end.

Instead, he said the Trump administration was still willing to negotiate with China, while sending a direct message it would defend USA interests. Which is also, not likely. The U.S. semiconductor industry relies on China for about a quarter of its revenue.

Any war has winners and losers within countries, says David Laborde, a senior research fellow in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division of IFPRI in Washington, DC. "If we can get those issues resolved positively, there's no damage to the American economy, it's all pluses". "This is just a proposed idea", Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday morning.

But if this spirals into a bigger conflict between the world's two biggest economies, it's worth keeping something in mind: In a trade war, the usual rules of commerce may not apply.

"Raw material prices, already on an uptrend since mid-2017, will likely be pushed up further as hoarding and speculation take place in anticipation and reaction to tariffs", he added.

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