Trump said he will raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% and hike duties on another $300 billion in products to 15%.Politicsread more
China said on Saturday it strongly opposes Washington's decision to levy additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods and warned the United States of consequences...Politicsread more
The European Union will respond in kind if the U.S. imposes tariffs on France over digital tax plan, EU chief Donald Tusk told G-7.Technologyread more
Stocks dropped after Donald Trump ordered that U.S. manufacturers find alternatives to their operations in China.US Marketsread more
The final week of August could be highly volatile as markets fret over the economy and the latest developments in trade wars.Market Insiderread more
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said Friday that the global economy has deteriorated in the past month.Marketsread more
The latest escalation in the trade war ups the odds the economy will fall into recession and that the Fed will aggressively cut rates.Market Insiderread more
Here are the products that stand to be the most affected by China's new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.Marketsread more
"We don't need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them," Trump tweeted.Politicsread more
Recent trade friction between the two Asian powerhouses has morphed into a dispute with political implications that go far beyond the region.Asia Politicsread more
"My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?" Trump wrote amid a series of tweets that rattled markets Friday.Politicsread more
Let us now dispense with the notion that there is only one proximal cause of the disturbance in the force of the financial markets. There are several.
Of course, the deepening trade war with China is the most important to date. The battle, in addition to tariffs, has widened to potentially include further bans on Chinese companies doing business in the U.S. as China may move to cut off the U.S. from the supply of rare minerals used in all manner of technology and consumer goods.
However, there is a long list of worries that the market is failing to climb.
The slowdown in the global economy has gone well beyond China-related weakness as evidenced by plunging bond yields around the world. Sovereign debt bearing negative yields is again approaching $11 trillion, well above recent lows, but still below the $13 trillion peak of a couple years ago.
The inversion of the U.S. yield curve, with 10-year note yields well below 3-month T-bill yields (and even below the Federal Funds rate), signals that bond market investors are growing worried about a recession and pricing in the likelihood of one or more rate cuts from the Federal Reserve before the end of this year.
More broadly, global bond markets are also projecting a worldwide slowdown, which is extending from Beijing to Brazil and from Russia to Rome and from Tokyo to Toronto.
Add to that the plunge in oil, copper and lumber prices and commodities are also flashing warning signs about global growth.
In addition to new uncertainties around Brexit, the resurrection of Nigel Farage, and the potentially adverse impact of European parliamentary elections, Italy is now facing a fresh debt crisis as it negotiates new terms with the EU.
Italy's far-right party is becoming increasingly emboldened to ignore the bureaucrats in Brussels and go its own way politically and economically.
(By the way, Steve Bannon just happens to be preaching the gospel of populism, and economic nationalism, from the Certosa di Trisulti monastery just outside the Italian capital.)
Meanwhile, populists from the right and left are maintaining, or gaining, their hold in executive seats from Budapest to Brasilia and from Moscow to Mexico.
If this is not enough to raise concerns about the return of 1930s-style economic policies … from protectionism to competitive currency devaluations to the U.S. finding other targets in an on-going trade war, there are some other salient issues currently at play.
Robert Mueller, in a surprise news conference on Wednesday, said his report did not exonerate President Trump of obstruction charges, saying it was not within his constitutional powers to charge a sitting president … raising the pressure for the House to hold an impeachment inquiry.
Argentina, Turkey and, again, Venezuela have economies and currencies in free-fall, lifting demand for dollar liquidity and rattling global currency markets.
But let's not stop there, especially since certain of President Trump's advisors are advocating for military action in the following places:
So, its not just the trade war that is providing bricks in the market's "wall of worry." It's many things all occurring in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections in the U.S.
The trade war with China is important, but let's face it … there are few more items on the horizon that may play a bigger role in the markets if they are not resolved in a rational and rapid fashion.
The markets appear to be worried about all these things. We probably should be too.