Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Amid US tariffs against China, experts worry about escalation

Wall Street reels as US-China trade spat and falling oil prices spook investors Trump threatens new tariffs on Chinese imports
Orlando Vargas | 21 June, 2018, 20:44

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 2.8 percent and France's CAC 40 slipped 1.4 percent. Big industrial companies that are part of the index, such as Boeing and Caterpillar, suffered steep losses. An earlier version stated that the S&P 500 closed down 11.18 points at 2,762.57.

Trump says he'll impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in goods from China in addition to tariffs announced earlier, which Ernst says puts USA producers at risk of permanently losing valuable market access.

Investors sought safety in telecommunications, utilities, and other high-dividend stocks like Verizon, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.

Beijing also drew up a second list of $16 billion in chemical and energy products to hit with new tariffs, though it did not announce a date for imposing them.

Economists are starting to warn that the tit-for-tat tariff threats between the United States and China, should they all be implemented, would meaningfully slow USA growth.

USA crude rose 1.11 percent to $65.78 per barrel after hitting a two-month low of $63.59 and Brent was last at $75.26, up 2.48 percent on the day after falling to a six-week low of $72.45.

"Due to the fact that the USA continues to apply protective measures in the form of additional import duties on steel and aluminum and refuses to provide compensation for Russia's losses, Russia is using its WTO rights and introducing balancing measures with respect to imports from the United States", Oreshkin said, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Commodities have also suffered because of the rising USA dollar following the Federal Reserve's decision to raise rates last week, he said.

USA crude fell 1.15 percent to $65.09 per barrel and Brent was last at $75.10, down 0.32 percent. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX fell 1.2 percent.

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Added Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch: "All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel". Among reforms the USA had pushed for was to make it easier to kick out member states with egregious rights records.


The US imposition of tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, which means an added tax on imported goods from China, was the first step in a series of measures announced by the Trump administration.

The Dow Jones industrials are down 318 points, or 1.3 percent, to 24,668. The S&P and the Nasdaq also fell.

U.S. President Donald Trump again slammed Canada over a trade dispute and claimed that Canadians are buying common products in the U.S. and having to "smuggle" them back into the country because of high tariffs. Last week, the US levied tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. China immediately promised to retaliate. That is the early view from financial markets as the tariff dust-up between China and the United States shows increasing signs of affecting stock prices.

USA stock markets fell sharply Tuesday, with investors increasingly nervous about the impact of the escalating fight.

Bond prices climbed as investors turned more cautious.

In U.S. Treasuries, U.S. 10-year and 30-year yields fell to three-week lows, while two-year yields slid to two-week troughs. Virtually all economists agree that restricting trade has damaging economic consequences for all countries that employ such policies, but the scale and the scope of the losses are potentially huge, not just for the USA and China, but also for countries not directly involved.

China has condemned Donald Trump's threat to impose 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as "blackmail" and warned it was prepared to take countermeasures if Washington goes through with them.

In an editorial, the English language China Daily, often used by the government to get its message out to the world, said the United States had failed to honor an agreement on rebalancing trade, a reference to a deal stuck in May for China to significantly increase purchases of US goods and services.

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