Trump To Make “China Trade Announcement” After Market Close

There will be no more delaying the announcement of the $200BN in China tariffs.

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Moments ago, Trump said that the “China Trade Announcement” which likely refers to the $200BN in second round tariffs, will come after the market close, perhaps so that stocks – which arguably can no longer discount the future – won’t be impacted?


It is unclear if the tariffs will carry a 10% or 25% tax, although according to the latest reports it will be the former, and potentially increase if China still refuses to “fold” to Trump demands.
What happens next? First, visually this is what the trade war with China will look like after today:

As a reminder, the list of the first $50bn in tariffs contained 1,333 tariff lines of products. It was based on “extensive interagency economic analysis”, and would “target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans”, such as Made in China 2025, while “minimizing the impact on the U.S. economy”. The second $200bn list share the same considerations on US economy and consumers, though China’s industrial policy was no longer a focus. All finalized lists also took into account public comments received.

So far the US has carefully avoided consumer and China dependent products. As a result, the trade war so far has had little impact on US economy and consumers.
But this will change as the tariff list expands to by another 200bn.

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Within the currently proposed 200bn list, about 78bn are consumer products (Figure 7). These include different types furniture (24bn), travel bags(2.2bn), vacuum cleaners (1.8bn), vinyl flooring(1.7bn), window/wall air conditioners (1.3bn), etc. Similarly, reliance on China increases sharply for the 200bn products in tariff pipeline. China import shares are above 20% for most of the products, and for about half of them, China’s share are more than 50% (Figure 8).

Furthermore, many of the consumer products subject to tariff also happen to have very high China import share. China’s import share is about 93% for air conditioners, 78% for vacuum cleaners, and 60-90% for various types of furniture. Therefore, we believe each dollar of tariff imposed on this 200bn list is a lot more painful for the US than one dollar of tariff imposed on the first 50bn list.
Not surprisingly, US domestic resistance on the latest $200bn list appeared stronger than before. The majority of the  industry representatives were against it during the six-day public hearing. Will the US be able to accommodate their complaints by exempting these products and finding other products to tariff instead?

In other words, while so far US consumers – and capital markets – have been spared from the tit-for-tat escalation, once Trump greenlights the next round of $200BN in tariffs, US purchasers of cheap Chinese imports will find them not so cheap anymore, hitting not only the pocket book of the US consumer, but also downstream corporations who will see their profit margins shrink rapidly, and which also explains the recent panic in various Fed and private sector surveys about the growing threat of ever greater tariffs.

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Trump’s action also means that trade talks with China scheduled for later this week will be canceled, and all eyes will be on how China retaliates. Recall that as the WSJ reported last night, Chinese officials involved in advising the leadership are proposing to step up the trade fight a notch by restricting China’s sales of materials, equipment and other parts key to U.S. manufacturers’ supply chain.

While the announcement is not news, as the market had plently of warnings, the Nasdaq has slumped to session lows with both the Dow and the S&P following lower: