Saturday, March 3, 2018

One More on Tariffs

Okay, we'll do just one more very quick post on the potential economic/market/political effects of tariffs. 

Going forward we'll wait for the details and monitor the immediate impact on market technicals and begin assessing the potential longer-term fundamental implications for both our U.S. and non-US exposures, if any:

So much for this being about U.S. Jobs:

Sweden's Electrolux, Europe’s largest home appliance maker, said on Friday it would delay a planned $250 million investment in Tennessee after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported aluminum and steel.
• 200,000 Americans lost their jobs to higher steel prices during 2002. These lost jobs represent approximately $4 billion ($5.5 billion in today’s dollars) in lost wages from February to November 2002.

I assure you this is merely the tip of the ice burg in terms of weekend headlines to come. Look for many to feature upcoming proposals for retaliatory tariffs on all manner of U.S. exports. 

As for the national security argument. Well, I just perused the State Dept's website and roughly counted 57 countries with whom we have security agreements that ensure that an attack on the U.S. will be treated as an attack on them. Hmm... I wonder if we'll ever be at war with all at the same time (other than a trade war maybe, which certainly doesn't inspire the coming to aid when needed), and I suspect that there's a mammoth amount of steel producing capacity spread throughout that group.

Remember, the President has assumed ownership of the bull market in equities, plus, history has not been kind to the reelection bids of politicians whose acts can be directly linked to economic pain. Thus, we may see a major watering-down of what the tariff scheme might've otherwise looked like.

1 comment:

  1. I guess I will only be drinking bottled beer! I may also have to buy an expensive titanium bicycle rather than steel or aluminum.