This is bad timing for China, which is attempting the impossible by trying to simultaneously deleverage and maintain robust growth:
“US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could trigger a trade war with China.
“On Thursday, Trump met several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35bn to $40bn of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans.
“The amount of goods could reach $55bn, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter in the face of a formal announcement.
“Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices.
“If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing.
“Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies.”
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Donald Trump’s controversial new import tariffs pose a stark threat to the global trading system and will ultimately damage the US economy.”
China could really do without a trade war right now: “China’s government has been trying to break the country’s addiction to ever-rising debt, but its effort to crack down on easy money is starting to hit growth in the world’s second-biggest economy.”
“Cracks are appearing in the economy of the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin as the local government struggles with a crackdown on the credit-fueled investment that has transformed its skyline in recent years. Some state firms are defaulting or scrambling for funds to meet obligations and some lenders are refusing to lend to Tianjin companies, according to creditors, government sources and documents viewed by Reuters.”
“The Shanghai Composite Index dropped to its lowest since September 2016 and within a whisker of the 3,000-point mark, as the U.S. prepared to release a list of goods upon which it will impose tariffs.”
“The U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest interest hike this week is an uncomfortable reminder to Asian borrowers about the risks of financial complacency… Corporate and personal debt has reached record levels around the world, including in Asia, in terms of absolute amounts of money involved. Moreover, in a number of Asian economies (China, South Korea and Japan stand out) the ratio of debt to gross domestic product is well in excess of that in most economies elsewhere.”
Japan’s central bank maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy on Friday and downgraded its view on inflation, signalling that it will lag well behind its U.S. and European peers in rolling back crisis-era stimulus.”
“President Donald Trump’s trade threats aren’t only hurting feelings in Germany. They are beginning to weigh on the country’s economy. The European Union’s largest economy, whose export-oriented vigour has kept the continent afloat for more than a decade, is cooling more rapidly than expected in what economists see as the early fallout from protectionist moves by the US.”
“A trade war with the United States looms. Populists have taken power in Italy, posing a new threat to the euro. Growth is sluggish, and there is even talk of another banking crisis. It would not seem the ideal time to put the brakes on Europe’s economy. But that is what the European Central Bank is preparing to do.”
“Guess what? Your bank loan is going to cost money from here on in. So is your margin account and a new mortgage. It’s not the early 2000s or the 1990s, but one thing is becoming clear: the central banks that have propped up securities markets since the Great Recession are now in retreat. The Fed is basically in full retreat, with the European Central Bank announcing its about-face on Thursday… Some emerging market countries are not too happy about it.”
“The brutal tumble of Argentina’s peso added to the list of concerns over the ability of developing economies to defend their currencies as the era of cheap money wanes. Emerging-market assets extended losses a day after the Federal Reserve’s more hawkish signals… The Argentine peso slumped more than 6 percent on reports of changes at the country’s central bank and after truck drivers began a strike.”
“Pakistan’s interim government has decided to leave the country’s ongoing economic crisis for the next elected government to address, citing its lack of mandate to cope with such a challenge.”
“Sudan faced a dire economic crisis since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, due to which Sudan lost 75 percent of its oil revenues.”
“Canadians’ mortgage borrowing over the first three months of 2018 fell by $2 billion to $13.7 billion — the lowest level since the second quarter of 2014… The federal agency said the slide in mortgage borrowing mirrored the 17 per cent decrease in the value of residential resale activity in the first quarter of this year.”
“The opioid crisis that continues to ravage the United States affects every state in the country and has left almost no community untouched. In 2016 alone, the United States witnessed an average of 115 deaths per day due to opioid overdoses — a number that surpasses the number of road traffic deaths and is contributing to the stalling gains in life expectancy in the United States.”