Trade

Donald Trump’s Failed Art Of Persuasion

The era of Trumpian protectionism has officially begun. On Monday, the president announced a quintupling of the total value of Chinese imports to be taxed, from $50 billion in goods to $250 billion, effective September 24th. And now that the Chinese have struck back with additional trade barriers, it’s likely that President Trump will respond with another round of duties that will result in a 10% to 25% tax on every dollar of the roughly half a trillion in goods Americans import from China each year. There is little reason to expect that these new duties are going anywhere, in part because the demands the Administration has given its Chinese counterparts are impossible to meet in the short run. The White House is reportedly holding out for a promise from China to unilaterally reduce the bi...

Wanna Guess How We Know That The Trade War With China Is On?

Every grifter has a tell, and the minor league con man sitting in the Oval Office has one of the simplest tells of all: Homeboy will do anything to protect the Dow Jones Industrial Average. President Donald Trump said he’ll make an announcement on China trade after U.S. financial markets close Monday. But knowing that with such confidence is a double-edged sword, because if we factor in that he also doesn’t know how tariffs work, we now know that this trade war with China is on like Donkey Kong… “Right after close of business, we’ll be announcing something,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And it will be a lot of money coming into the coffers of the United States of America. A lot of money coming in.” You tried, Larry Kudlow, we know you tried. Trump Says China Trade Announcement...

Chilean Criminals Have Turned to Avocado Theft, And Who Can Blame Them

Avocados, the lynchpin of millennial criticism, are proving that everyone wants a piece of the hottest food trend of the 21st century. Chile, one of the biggest exporters of avocados, is benefiting from increased demand. Specifically, the prices of avocados have grown 23% in the past year, and 9% in the past month. Sadly, these price increases haven’t come without repercussions While thefts have always existed, it has gone from people breaking into fields at night to organized armed groups assaulting producers in broad daylight, said Francisco Contardo, general manager of Chile’s avocado producers’ association. During the harvest season, from August to February this year, 10 bands were dismantled and 50 people were charged with theft. Now Chile has copied the avocado police of Mexico and C...

Opening Bell 6.6.2018

Hedge Fund Managed by Billionaire Howard Gained 36% in May [Bloomberg] Howard’s performance marks a significant turnaround for macro trading, a hedge fund strategy that has struggled to make money for years. Middling performance had prompted investors to pull money from some of the oldest and most established macro traders including Brevan Howard, Tudor Investment Corp. and Caxton Associates. That’s reversing now, with investors pouring nearly $12 billion into such funds during the first four months of the year, the most of any strategy, according to data compiled by eVestment. U.S. trade deficit falls to seven-month low [Reuters] The Commerce Department said on Wednesday the trade gap dropped 2.1 percent to $46.2 billion, the smallest since September. Data for March was revised to show th...

Pete Navarro Goes On NPR To Diss Steve Mnuchin Because Pete Navarro Is So Crazy That He Thinks Steve Mnuchin Listens To NPR

The Trump Administration’s economic dream team is at it again! After their catty sorority flight home from China resulted in everyone admitting that they hate everyone else because, like, they are all wrong about China – and also Lighthizer is a real bitch when he’s hungry – Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow managed to get Pete Navarro benched from further negotiations with the Chinese. Rumor had it at that time that Navarro got in trouble by acting like himself and throwing a tantrum on the plane home, yelling at Mnuchin that he was being too soft on China, a country that Navarro has come to believe is the sworn enemy of justice and truth in the universe. All in all, the whole episode was just another batshit moment of messy drama in the highest policy levels of the Trump White House, but it...

Since No One Is Listenting To His Thoughts On Economics, Larry Kudlow Now Wanders The West Wing Offering Bad Fashion Advice

When Larry Kudlow took his talents from the Midtown Cipriani to The West Wing, we wondered how long it would take for everyone’s favorite anthropomorphized Jay McInerney character to realize that his free-trading “King Dollar” thinking would be out-of-sync in a White House run by a fake nationalist with no real understanding of monetary policy. So far, Larry has hung on to his spot in Trump’s inner circle but his fingers must be sore what with the Trump administration behaving with the intellectual consistency of a tween smoking synthetic marijuana every time a trade deal gets mentioned, and also having to deal at all times with the reality of Peter Navarro existing despite basic human logic. Kuddles’ government gig is not going the way we thought it would, but it’s definitely not going th...

Market Calls Trump’s Auto Tariff Bluff

Donald Trump’s feigned unpredictability has become the most predictable aspect of his administration. The president’s latest gambit is a threat of major tariffs against foreign car manufacturers, after he directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Wednesday to conduct a Section 232 investigation into whether foreign competition in the auto sector represents a threat to national security risk. The market has shrugged off the news, with Toyota stock falling less than 2% during trading Thursday, and other foreign car makers like BMW, Hyundai, and Daimler have all paired back losses since the announcement Wednesday afternoon. If investors were taking the president seriously, one would expect a much larger reaction, given that Toyota, for instance, sells more cars in North America than even its th...

America Doesn’t Have The Stomach For Trump’s Trade War

President Trump’s capitulation to the Chinese only surprising in that it was so complete. In exchange for lifting the threat of new tariffs on $150 billion worth of goods, the president received nothing besides vague assurances of increased purchases of American agriculture, something that rapidly rising demand would have necessitated anyway. One must give credit to Chinese negotiators, who wisely realize they have nothing to gain from taking Trump’s tariff threats seriously until the American electorate signals its support for the trade war over the course of at least another election cycle. And let’s also credit Donald Trump’s predecessors. It turns out that they’re probably not as stupid as the president thinks, and that lopsided terms of trade between China and the U.S. hasn’t resulted...

Wilbur Ross Wakes Up From His Friday Nap Just Long Enough To Prove That He Doesn’t Know What The Commerce Secretary Does

We don’t want to shock or alarm you guys, but it really seems hard to ignore that Wilbur Ross either does not know or does not care what the job of the Commerce Secretary is…which is troubling since he’s supposed to be the Commerce Secretary. The animate remains that now constitute Mr. Ross spend an inordinate amount of time napping, worrying about foot comfort and thinking about how to monetize and dominate the actual moon. Unfortunately for American businesses, Wilbur does not seem to allot much of his precious little awake time to the “Promoting American businesses” part of the gig. Whatever you might think of Wilbur’s old career, or the man himself, it’s become impossible to argue that he is anything other than a wrinkly, monotoned square peg in a round hole job. Even his boss has admi...

Peter Navarro Sidelined From China Trade Talks Because He’s Peter F@#%ing Navarro

Hey, look, there’s breaking news in the world of basic human logic… White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been excluded from talks Thursday with China’s top economic envoy aimed at defusing a brewing trade war with the U.S., two administration officials said. Well, no fucking duh. Letting Pete Navarro take part in trade talks with China would be like letting a toddler clean and organize your wedding crystal. Letting Pete Navarro converse with Chinese officials is like naming Kanye West the new ambassador to Wakanda. Letting Peter Navarro negotiate trade with the Chinese is like hiring Harvey Weinstein to run your company’s sexual conduct seminar. It’s almost breathtaking that the Trump Administration has the awareness to do something so logical based on the fact that they HIRED HIM A...

Trump Can’t Tame The Trade Deficit, So He’ll Settle For Taming Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross has known Donald Trump long enough not to expect loyalty from the president, but even Ross must have be surprised by the speed and enthusiasm with which number 45 threw him under the bus after his inauguration. Ross has been a White House punching bag for months now, with the president reportedly disappointed in the results Ross had produced during trade negotiations with China last year. “Wilbur has lost his step,” the president said, per Axios. “Actually, he’s probably lost a lot of steps.” The latest indignity for Ross is Trump’s reversal of sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE, which was barred on April 16th by Ross’ Commerce Department from importing goods from the U.S., as punishment for its repeated violations of U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran. The import ...

President Trump and the Madman’s Advantage in Trade Wars

Donald Trump see himself as the redeemer of a great, bygone America, but when it comes to his communication style, he is quintessentially postmodern, and not just because he prefers Twitter to interviews with journalists. According to his most dedicated and high-profile supporters, like Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the president is a great communicator because of a sophisticated understanding of human psychology and his use of proven tactics for manipulating human behavior. Exhibit one in Adams’ case is the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and it’s trade partners over announced steel and aluminum tariffs that have been enacted or threatened. The slapdash nature of the tariffs’ unveiling, and leaks about internal disagreement over Trump trade policy, are all aimed at creating the perce...