The Trump administration revealed a plan for yet another round of tariffs against China, this time listing $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, bringing the potential total to $50 billion. The tariffs are scheduled to take effect on August 23. China is expected to announce countertariffs aimed at the United States to be enacted on the same day.
The U.S. has taken steps to mitigate the short-term impact of tariffs and countertariffs on farmers, approving a $12 billion aid package for farmers, but it may not be enough given the continued escalation. China, on the other hand, is taking steps to dig in and prepare for the effects of an all-out trade war. The country is beefing up imports of raw goods, including coal, crude oil, and iron ore to prepare for potential cost increases on imported goods. It has also begun pushing resources into infrastructure projects to strengthen economic activity, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Trump administration vowed to install tariffs on 279 products, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, include chemicals and electronic parts, totaling a potential $200 billion worth of tariffs. The latest round of $16 billion worth of goods represents a mere 8% of the potential tariffs heaped on Chinese goods, which means conditions could potentially become much more extreme for domestic businesses in the near future. Only after the tariffs take effect will the Commerce Department consider hearing petitions for exemption from the tariffs by individual companies. Thousands of companies sent petitions for exemption from the last round of tariffs, and more are expected during this round.
Markets have responded poorly to the announcement. The three major U.S. stock indexes were down on Wednesday morning following the news, with the Dow Jones down the most. Markets recovered in the late morning, however, largely due to strong data in other parts of the economy and a mostly strong earnings season. Automotive manufacturers and other large-goods producers could bear most of the brunt of the tariffs, as such companies rely heavily on raw materials and components from China. With no clear path forward for the U.S.–China trade agreement, more tariffs could follow. The markets are hoping the two countries can work out a long-term solution soon, but sentiment is not optimistic.
Sectors: Among the Sector Benchmark ETFs, the average momentum score increased from 13.46 to 16.91. Most sector scores rose for the week. Industrials increased the most, up 11. Energy fell the most, down 5. Health Care is the leading sector at 33, followed by Consumer Staples at 28 and Industrials at 27. Defensive and sensitive sectors were up. Sensitive sectors were up as well, mainly due to increases from Technology and Industrials. Discretionary and Telecom reside at the bottom of the rankings. Ten sectors are “in the green.”
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Global: Global Benchmark ETF momentum scores were up for the week. The average score by country increased from 2.55 to 7.64. Global areas had mainly positive results. The top position is now occupied by Latin America, followed by USA and World Equity. Latin American jolted to the top position with an increase of 40, by far the biggest increase for the week. China fell the most, down by 12 points. The Pacific, United Kingdom, and China are at the bottom of the ranks. Nine of the 11 global areas are “in the green.”