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Traditionally, the third Friday in August is as dormant as they come. In the U.S., law and policymakers, business and financial potentates, and the self-styled media elite are into their mid-August to post-Labor Day summer breaks. Many Europeans, meanwhile, are off for the entire month. Financial markets activity slows to a crawl, save for the outlier event or events that can cause violent price swings due to thin trading volumes.
Tradition was turned on its head yesterday. Americans awoke to the news that China would impose tariffs, effective Dec. 15, on $75 billion in American-made goods. The moves reinstate 25% tariffs on autos, and target more than 5,000 products including soybeans, coffee, whiskey, seafood and crude oil. China had said it would respond to the U.S. imposing levies on $300 billion of Chinese-made products.
President Trump then followed with a series of tweets declaring the U.S. would be better off not doing business with China, ordering American companies to leave China, calling Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell an enemy of the state for failing to lower interest rates far and fast enough for his liking, and directing package delivery companies to search for and refuse all shipments containing the deadly synthetic opioid, Fentanyl, paying special attention to orders from China, where it is believed a large chunk of the drug for U.S. consumption comes from. FedEx Corp., (NYSE:FDX); UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS); and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have said they have robust anti-trafficking security programs already in place.
Trump delivered the coup de grace after the market closed, ordering an increase in tariffs on $550 billion of Chinese imports, equal to the value of all of China’s goods entering the U.S. each year. Effective Oct. 1, 25% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese-made goods will be hiked to 30%. On Sept. 1, 10% tariffs on an additional $250 billion of goods will be raised to 15%. A separate 10% levy on imports of goods that would be typically purchased during the holiday season has been delayed until Dec. 15, in what administration officials have called a Christmas gift to American consumers. At that time, those tariffs will be raised as well. .
This article first appeared on s29755.pcdn.co
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