After Trump ordered the USTR to consider an additional $100BN in tariffs, something we said on Wednesday would happen if the market was dumb enough to allow Trump to think he had a trade war victory by closing green…
S&P 500 EXTENDS GAIN ABOVE FRIDAY’S CLOSE, UP AS MUCH AS 1.15%
Seeing favorable market response, Trump next raises China tariffs to $100BN
…China has suddenly found itself in a quandary: as we showed first thing this morning, if Beijing were to continue responding to the US in a “tit-for-tat”, it would be unable to retaliate to the latest Trump salvo of a total $150 billion in tariffs for the simple reason that the US does not export $150 billion in products to China.
Which doesn’t mean that China is out of options; quite the contrary. The problem is that virtually everything and anything else that Beijing can do, would be a significant escalation. In fact, the five most frequently cited options are all considered “nuclear” and would promptly lead to an even more aggressive response from Washington.
Here are the five “nuclear” options that China is currently contemplating:
- A Currency Depreciation. A sharp, one-time yuan devaluation, like the one Beijing unexpectedly carried out in August 2015, could be used to offset some of the effect of tariffs.
- Sales of US Treasurys. Chinese authorities could sell some of its large official-sector holdings of US Treasuries, which would lead to a tightening of US financial conditions.
- Block US services. Chinese authorities could limit access for US companies to the Chinese domestic market, particularly in the services sector, where the US exports $56 billion in services annually and runs a $38 billion surplus.
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