Financial markets have responded predictably to this major escalation in the economic cold war.
Share prices fell and investors sought out the traditional safe haven assets: gold and the swiss franc. When the US president announced his first wave of protectionist measures in March he boasted that trade wars were good and easy to win.
Pillars of Economic Competitiveness
The markets are not always right — but this time they are. There is something eerily reminiscent of the summer of about the state of US-China relations. Neither side wants a trade war. Both countries would be damaged by a trade war. But step-by-step a trade war comes closer. Without question these are the most crucial weeks for the global trading system since the s.
The White House is right in the first of these assumptions, but not in the second. But Beijing tends to play things long, which makes its willingness to allow the yuan to rise above seven to the dollar both significant and worrying.
Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is teetering toward recession in large part because of weakening exports. German weakness has contributed to a general sense of malaise in Europe , just as the Continent grapples with the prospect that Britain — also contracting — might crash out of the European Union without a deal governing future commercial relations.
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Even Vietnam — a country that has received fresh investment as multinational companies seek alternatives to making their wares in China — looks vulnerable if global trade over all continues to diminish. The United States is still growing, with the unemployment rate lower than it had been in half a century. But companies are deferring investments as they puzzle over the impact of trade hostilities.
US-China trade war uncertainty could cost global economy $ billion by
How can executives proceed with expanding operations in Ohio or Michigan when they have no certainty over the tariffs that will apply to parts and electronics brought in from China? A slowdown in investment could eventually prompt households to curb their spending, bringing a recession. If a continued trade war footing tanks stock markets, share prices could themselves become an affliction. As millions of Americans absorb the reality that their investments are worth less, they may question whether to buy that new home, take that trip or open that new business.
Long before Mr. Trump took office, American governments complained about China and its failed promises to open its market. China has lavished subsidies on state-owned companies. It turned itself into an export juggernaut while ignoring labor and environmental standards.
How competitive is China’s economy on the global stage?
Beijing and Washington have argued over this state of affairs for decades, while American labor interests and industry groups have demanded redress. But Mr.
Trump has gone much further than his predecessors in his diagnosis. In his telling — at least, in his combative moments — China is a rogue operator that fleeces Americans. The solution is not another slow-moving case at the World Trade Organization, but a fundamental redrawing of commercial geography.
American companies must vacate China, walking away from customers and supply chains. Stock markets suffered a sell-off because a dissolution of American and Chinese commercial arrangements was certain to be disruptive. Companies with global operations would have to scramble to figure out where they would buy parts and raw materials. Yet by Sunday morning, at the Group of 7 summit in France, Mr. By Monday morning, he was calling Mr. Stock markets were buoyant. At least for a few hours, the bewildering notion that the United States and China were dissolving ties could be forgotten.
The eurozone needs investment. But it has its own deep political dysfunction to deal with. It would need the Bundestag to declare an economic crisis to release it from the strictures of its austere fiscal policy. The fact that the world has not yet tipped into recession must in large part be credited to China. This is not to impute superhuman powers or monolithic unity to Beijing. The Chinese government has its hands full managing a nasty combination of slowing growth and a dangerous credit boom.
Poor Chinese and German Economic Data Fan Fears of Global Slowdown
And yet, in handling both its internal and external problems, China, unlike the United States, at least appears to have a playbook. It is not only synchronizing fiscal and monetary policy but is also using banking regulation and foreign exchange controls to contain the risk of capital flight. Once criticized for resisting the upward pressure on the value of its currency, Beijing is now expected by Washington to pull every lever to stop the yuan from devaluing. And even setting aside the contradictory noises from the Trump administration, there are few in the West who would want to see China liberalize its balance of payments and risk the kind of capital flight that rocked global financial markets in and