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Fighting talk

| Posted by: Paul Donovan | Tags: Paul Donovan

  • The US Trade Representative told Congress that the World Trade Organization would suffer "cataclysmic" consequences if China were considered a market economy. A trade war over steel imports is expected (US steel imports have been declining). President Xi of China may not be getting the return he expected on his investment of political capital in the US. 
  • The drop in crude oil prices is agitating markets. Economists only care if the move is sustained. A prolonged period of oil weakness has currency implications – the Gulf economies need oil revenues to finance domestic spending. Low oil prices encourage the sale of US assets to finance imports from Europe – with obvious currency consequences.
  • In the UK, the debate about the Queen's speech focused on whether Her Majesty's hat constituted a political statement. The content of the speech was not interesting. The Bank of England's Haldane suggesting support for a rate increase surprised markets (more, perhaps, than it surprised economists).
  • French manufacturing sentiment data is likely to say more about politics than about the state of manufacturing. Eurozone consumer confidence is also due. The European Central Bank bulletin may be worth a glance as economists speculate about the pace of quantitative policy tapering in 2018.