Sep 18, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Mr. 10 percent
The White House announced a new 10 percent tax on over 5,000 products from China that will come into effect next week, with those tariffs rising to 25 percent on Jan. 1 2019. The move undermines the prospect of any further trade talks with Beijing anytime soon. The list published by President Donald Trump’s administration spared high-tech products from Apple Inc. and Fitbit Inc. The White House also said there would be a third phase of duties targeting a further $267 billion of goods should China take retaliatory action.
And that was not long coming, with China’s Ministry of Commerce vowing to hit back in a statement, which didn’t provide further details. Beijing had previously said it would impose duties on $60 billion of U.S. goods should Washington escalate the trade dispute. The escalation has drawn warnings about growth from many quarters. Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said the tensions around trade policy are a “material risk” to the global outlook.
Investors seem to be taking a “it could have been worse” view of the trade actions because the 10 percent level is below what some had predicted. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.8 percent higher as the yen declined. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time, with automakers and miners among the best performers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.996 percent and gold was a little lower.
This is fine
Saudi Arabia is comfortable with Brent crude rising above $80 a barrel, at least in the short term, according to people familiar with the kingdom’s view. Concern is growing at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that global crude supply is coming under threat from sanctions on Iran, the organization’s third biggest supplier. A barrel of Brent for November delivery was trading at $79.23 by 5:45 a.m., with West Texas Intermediate for October delivery at $69.90 a barrel.
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has been delayed, with Trump’s nominee now set to face the Senate Judiciary Committee next week in a session with California college professor Christine Blasey Ford who accuses him of sexual assault. Trump continued to back his pick for the Supreme Court saying Kavanaugh is “one of the finest people I have ever known.” With the midterm elections fast approaching, the Sept. 24 session is likely to be high on political drama.