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Blain: “I Think The Global Trade War Is Now A Shooting War”

Blain’s Morning Porridge submitted by Bill Blain

“Why So Serious?”

I think the Global Trade War is now a shooting war.

A few weeks ago one of my very smart CIO contacts warned me the real story of the year isn’t just the implications for supply chains from a Trade Spat, but a more fundamental “Tech Cold War” between China and the US for dominance. It’s a battle that will shortly reach epic proportions, force huge change in the global tech supply chain, and has massive implications for current incumbents.

Over this last few days, its all going off. The US, Australia, NZ and the UK have banned Huawei from new 5G systems over embedded spy tech and “security” issues. Now we learn that even as Xi and Trump were meeting, the CFO of Huawei was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran! She is also the daughter of Hauwei’s founder.

I suspect the news will trigger a massive downtrade in stocks today. Brace, Brace, Brace!

The core objective of Trump’s trade war threats are to contain China’s becoming a technological equal and competitor after all its learnt from access and replication of US tech. If we see a full Tech War with lines drawn, then its potentially clobbers everything from Apple down. It means a choice between US Tech or China Tech.

“Made in China 2025” is the Chinese target of becoming the leader in tech, and avoiding just being a US manufacturing centre. Its happening – Hauwei’s lead in 5G is just one example.

More on this next week – but its going to be a massive story. Blade Runner anyone?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Real Reason Behind The Next Oil Squeeze

The Real Reason Behind The Next Oil Squeeze


The last quarter has seen increased volatility in oil prices, an increase that I attribute to the growing tensions in international markets as fears of a global trade war intensify. The headlines seem to get starker by the day, and markets loathe this type of uncertainty.

(Click to enlarge)


The intent of this article is to provide some guidance as to where oil prices may be headed in the near term. I think there are some key drivers at play here and will discuss them in some detail in the rest of this article.

Supply and Demand

One of the reasons for the big energy depression that hit in mid-2014 was an oversupply caused by Saudi Arabia ramping up production to drive prices down. They had several goals in doing this as has been discussed in countless articles, but chief among them was the desire to take high cost barrels off the market. Their primary targets were the American frac machine in North America, and deepwater production that was grabbing an increasing share of big IOC dollars.

This worked fairly well over the short run, as energy producers outside Saudi were unprepared. For most of 2016, the frackers in America retooled their portfolios and improved practices, cutting average well costs down to where they were economic with $40-50-dollar oil. U.S. shale was back in business.

The deepwater business is still struggling to regain its momentum.

(Click to enlarge)


Demand is likely to increase for the foreseeable future though, with an average annual increase of about 1.6mm BOPD for the years covered in the Global Supply and Demand Chart above (2013-2018). The upward slope continues through 2019 at about the same rate of increase.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ignore Tariffs, According To Goldman This Is The Biggest Risk From A Global Trade War

One month ago, when previewing the potential fallout from an “all out” global trade war, which for simplicity’s sake many have equated with an across-the-board 10% tariff on all US imports and exports, we presented an analysis from Barclays, according to which the hit to 2018 EPS for S&P 500 companies would be ~11% and, thus, “completely offset the positive fiscal stimulus from tax reform.”

Furthermore, the impact on exporters which would be directly affected, would be 5%, while that on US companies that import finished goods or inputs would be higher, at roughly 6%. This, to Barclays, highlights the unintended consequences of imposing tariffs given the global nature of current supply chains.

Since then, trade tensions have only escalated at an alarming pace. In context, the US has already imposed tariffs on $79 billion of US imports and proposed tariffs on an additional $702 billion, with the combined $781 billion in targeted goods representing 27% of total US imports.

Reflecting this escalation in trade tensions, the Trade Policy Uncertainty Index recently notched its highest reading since 1994 around the time of NAFTA’s inception.

Adding fuel to the fire, in recent days all out currency war has also broken out following a sharp devaluation in the Yuan, which has tumbled at an annualized pace of 30%, far faster than during the 2015 devaluation

… and eventually prompted Trump to also enter the fray, when he first complained about the Yuan “dropping like a rock” on a CNBC interview (coupled with some not so veiled suggestions against the Fed rate hiking ambitions), followed by vows to impose more tariffs and complaints about “illegal currency manipulation”, which have resulted in a rollercoaster move in the Yuan and, inversely, the dollar, and prompted Goldman to write that “trade war is evolving into currency war.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Past Point Of No Return”: World Markets Tumble Amid Global Trade War Shockwaves

In almost every way, the overnight trading action has been a mirror image of the ramp observed on Monday morning, when trade tensions – inexplicably, one trading day after trade war started – were said to have “gone away” leading to a furious global rally.

Not so much today, when hours after Trump unveiled the second round of trade war – at the worst possible time according to bulls, just ahead of earnings season, once again spoiling the positive effect of what is set to be another 20%+ EPS rise for the S&P – by pushing ahead with plans to impose tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods by releasing a list of targeted products that includes consumer items such as clothing, television components and refrigerators, global stocks are a sea of red amid a worldwide market selloff as traders realized that not only is trade war not hibernating, but it is set to keep getting worse as Steven Englander explained last night, as escalation has now crossed past “the point of no return.”

While the duties have some time before taking effect, and the soonest they could be implemented would be after public consultations end on Aug. 30, Beijing has described the move as “totally unacceptable” bullying and vowed it will be forced to retaliate, without however giving details.

However, the biggest risk is that, as Bloomberg wrote, Trump has pushing his China trade conflict beyond “a point of no return”, where neither side can back down. China now has seven weeks to make a deal or dig in and try to outlast the U.S. leader. However, president Xi Jinping, facing his own political pressures to look tough, has vowed to respond blow-for-blow. He’s already imposed retaliatory duties targeting Trump’s base including Iowa soybeans and Kentucky bourbon.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War Provides Perfect Cover For The Elitist Engineered Global Reset

Trade War Provides Perfect Cover For The Elitist Engineered Global Reset

Over the past several months, I have been examining the underlying or hidden motivations behind the currently expanding global trade war, including the impressive level of cognitive dissonance surrounding the issue. The political left doesn’t seem to have an intelligent grasp of economic issues in the slightest.  I’m not seeing any critical discussion from leftist media outlets or pundits on fiscal uncertainties, and the only reaction that is common from them is that they hope that the trade war results in the financial downfall of the US so that Trump can be voted out in 2020.  They may very well get their wish, but they seem to imagine themselves celebrating at the end of the disaster, and I predict they’ll be so concerned with their own financial survival that they won’t have time to celebrate…

The initial reaction in conservative circles to the trade war was unfortunately overconfident denial, with many refusing to call the situation a “trade war” at all and some predicting an end to the conflict before it began. Obviously those assumptions are proving incorrect.

Now that acceptance of the trade war as a reality is setting in, the Trump bandwagon is doubling down and embracing blind enthusiasm for what they assume will be a victorious outcome, no matter how long it takes. Though the team-geopolitics mentality is enticing in some ways, I don’t find much in the facts and evidence department to support the notion of America winning a global trade war. As I outlined in my article America’s Debt Dependence Makes It An Easy Economic Target, as long as the U.S. retains historic levels of debt on a government, corporate and consumer level, and as long as we remain addicted to foreign investment in that debt, trade war opponents have all the ammunition they need.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


GMO: “A Global Trade War Would Lead To a 40% Market Crash”

If one was following the price action of stocks today in response to Trump’s Thursday announcement of steel and aluminum import tariffs, one would be left with the impression that either the market thinks Trumps is bluffing, or that tariffs are bullish for risk assets. As shown in the chart below, both the S&P and the Nasdaq closed at session highs, with the Dow just barely red, while the tech index was effectively unchanged from yesterday’s announcement level.

Well, considering that Trump not only doubled-down, but tripled-down  on his tariff threats, it does not seem realistic that the president will flip-flop on this issue, even if it means that Trump’s precious stock market (big, fat bubble) lets out some air.

Which then leaves open the question of whether tariffs are – somehow – bullish. And just to dispel any confusion on the topic, this afternoon GMO’s Ben Inker wrote something so simple, even a momentum-chasing algo will understand it:

As a general rule, when you add “war” to your description of an event, it’s a pretty strong suggestion that it is unlikely to be either good or easy. Wars are sometimes well intentioned (the war on drugs), occasionally necessary (World War II), but seldom good and more or less never easy to win.

The last of course is a reference to Trump’s tweeted prediction that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” to which Inker responds that “even if you do “win” easily, the longer term implications are often more problematic than you thought (the second Iraq War). There is still some time for this particular war to be averted. But while it is our general contention that equity markets tend to overreact to political and economic events, this is not one of those times.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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