Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Delays in clearing US goods as duties loom, China bouncing back

As U.S.-China tit-for-tat tariffs approach here's what could happen Workers transfer bags of soybeans at a port in Nantong in China's eastern Jiangsu province on March 22
Leonard Rios | 09 July, 2018, 09:31

Eastern time today on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs.

The trade dispute between the United States and China escalated on Friday, but Wall Street focused on a solid jobs report instead. China, which is fighting an economic slowdown, will be equally affected.

Just before the tariff deadline, President Donald Trump upped the ante, warning that the United States may ultimately target over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, or roughly the total amount of USA imports from China past year.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 213,000 in June, beating market consensus, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday.

"China knows that it can initially respond by matching the U.S. in kind".

Trade-war fears have been simmering for months, keeping market gains in check as investors fret over the impact of tariffs on corporate profits. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has issued a statement calling the USA move "typical trade bullying" and held that "in order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate", according to The Washington Post.

From soybean farmers and pork producers to the motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson, numerous American exporters are facing upheavals from the tariffs. "No one wins in a trade war".

China's soymeal futures fell more than 2 percent on Friday afternoon before recovering most of those losses, amid initial market confusion over whether Beijing had actually implemented the tariffs, which it later confirmed it had.

It is also unclear whether they considered how their actions might encourage closer trade relations between China and the European Union (which are being discussed), or China and other Asia Pacific economies (also being negotiated).

Rabobank reckons China may have to buy up to 15 million tonnes of US beans at tariff prices. "We think trade works for the American economy and tariffs don't".

Trade protectionism was the centrepiece of his presidential election campaign, and he had floated the idea of imposing tariffs as high as 45% on imports from China.

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In the run-up to Friday, there was no sign of renewed negotiations between US and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

Analysts noted the trade actions, though unwelcome, had been long telegraphed. China, India, the EU, Norway, Russia, Canada and Mexico have all lodged complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the steel and aluminium tariffs.

The analyst, however, added that if the tensions between the two countries continue, it would hurt Trump's efforts as it will hurt US industries from farming to metals including steel and aluminum and even automobiles and electronic goods.

Importers of American retail goods hit by higher Chinese duties were reluctant to pass the costs on to consumers for now.

United States crude stood 0.2 per cent higher at $US73.09 a barrel. The products, sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms, ranged from pet food to mixed nuts and whiskey.

Following the tax package approval, expectations were high that companies would ramp up not just buybacks and dividends but capital spending in 2018, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. But German automaker BMW (BMWG.DE) said it is unable to "completely absorb" new Chinese tariff on imported USA -made models and will raise prices.

Craig Bouchard, Braidy's CEO, said an expansion of US tariffs on imported aluminum is helping to allow for the 600 mill jobs he's adding in Appalachia and the thousands of jobs indirectly supported by the plant.

US employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in June, while increasing wages for workers. However, investors said that a significant escalation in tension would cause worries to set in. President Donald Trump, who has claimed that winning a trade war would be easy, has said that he's prepared to drastically raise tariffs on more Chinese imports. "It is clear that Donald Trump's trade protectionism has a strategic objective both politically and economically".

"The longer tariffs last and the wider they become, the more they will dampen hiring and investment by US businesses engaged in global value chains", Adams said.

Trump has railed against Beijing for intellectual property theft, barriers to entry for US businesses and a $375 billion USA trade deficit with China.

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