‘You would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe, in reverse,’ Trump told ‘Fox & Friends’
..Trump has often hitched his political wagon to the performance of stock market.
However, some market participants believe that the president, despite his pro-growth policies and the corporate tax cuts enacted late last year, isn’t the main driver for the current market expansion.
“Online prediction markets now make the odds that President Trump will be impeached at 45%, a new high. Equity markets don’t seem to care, and we think they are right,” wrote Nicholas Colas, co-founder of market analytics firm DataTrek Research in a Thursday note.
.. Colas said low rates and, solid corporate earnings and a strong dollar have been the real underpinnings of the market’s bullish tilt.
To be sure, impeachment doesn’t necessarily translate to a removal from office as Trump implies. Bill Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998 but acquitted by the Senate. Clinton’s impeachment had very little impact on the market.
In a sharp departure from this time last year, the global economy is now being buffeted by growing concerns over US President Donald Trump’s trade war, fragile emerging markets, a slowdown in Europe, and other risks. It is safe to say that the period of low volatility and synchronized global growth is behind us... In 2017, the world economy was undergoing a synchronized expansion, with growth accelerating in both advanced economies and emerging markets. Moreover, despite stronger growth, inflation was tame – if not falling – even in economies like the United States, where goods and labor markets were tightening... Stronger growth with inflation still below target allowed unconventional monetary policies either to remain in full force, as in the eurozone and Japan, or to be rolled back very gradually.. Markets gave US President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt during his first year in office; and investors celebrated his tax cuts and deregulatory policies. Many commentators even argued that the decade of the “new mediocre” and “secular stagnation” was giving way to a new “goldilocks” phase of steady, stronger growth... Though the world economy is still experiencing a lukewarm expansion, growth is no longer synchronized. Economic growth in the eurozone, the United Kingdom, Japan, and a number of fragile emerging markets is slowing... while the US and Chinese economies are still expanding, the former is being driven by unsustainable fiscal stimulus...with the US economy near full employment, fiscal-stimulus policies, together with rising oil and commodity prices, are stoking domestic inflation... the US Federal Reserve must raise interest rates faster than expected, while also unwinding its balance sheet... the prospect of higher inflation has led even the European Central Bank to consider gradually ending unconventional monetary policies, implying less monetary accommodation at the global level. The combination of a stronger dollar, higher interest rates, and less liquidity does not bode well for emerging markets... Despite strong corporate earnings – which have been goosed by the US tax cuts – US and global equity markets have drifted sideways in recent months... The danger now is that a negative feedback loop between economies and markets will take hold. The slowdown in some economies could lead to even tighter financial conditions in equity, bond, and credit markets, which could further limit growth... Since 2010, economic slowdowns, risk-off episodes, and market corrections have heightened the risks of stag-deflation (slow growth and low inflation); but major central banks came to the rescue with unconventional monetary policies as both growth and inflation were falling... These risks include the negative supply shock that could come from a trade war; higher oil prices, owing to politically motivated supply constraints; and inflationary domestic policies in the US... this time the Fed and other central banks are starting or continuing to tighten monetary policies, and, with inflation rising, cannot come to the markets’ rescue this time.Another big difference in 2018 is that Trump’s policies are creating further uncertainty. In addition to
- launching a trade war, Trump is also
- actively undermining the global economic and geostrategic order that the US created after World War II.
.. the Trump administration’s modest growth-boosting policies are already behind us, the effects of policies that could hamper growth have yet to be fully felt. Trump’s favored fiscal and trade policies will crowd out private investment, reduce foreign direct investment in the US, and produce larger external deficits.
- His draconian approach to immigration will diminish the supply of labor needed to support an aging society.
- His environmental policies will make it harder for the US to compete in the green economy of the future.
- And his bullying of the private sector will make firms hesitant to hire or invest in the US.
.. Even if the US economy exceeds potential growth over the next year, the effects of fiscal stimulus will fade by the second half of 2019, and the Fed will overshoot its long-term equilibrium policy rate as it tries to control inflation; thus,
achieving a soft landing will become harder.
.. By then, and with protectionism rising, frothy global markets will probably have become even bumpier, owing to the serious risk of a growth stall – or even a downturn – in 2020.
.. With the era of low volatility now behind us, it would seem that the current risk-off era is here to stay.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower, while the U.S. is raising rates while the dollars gets stronger and stronger with each passing day – taking away our big competitive edge. As usual, not a level playing field…</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1020287981020729344?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 20, 2018</a></blockquote>
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And yet, both his tax cuts and trade war are contributing to these dynamics.
- You juice the economy at full employment with a deficit-financed, $2 trillion tax cut, and the Fed’s naturally going to ramp up their concerns about overheating.
- At the same time, the extra fiscal impulse is leading to stronger U.S. growth, relative to that of our trading partners, and that, too, puts pressure on both the dollar and the trade deficit.
- Meanwhile, tariffs tend to reduce the circulation of dollars in foreign exchange markets, yet another pressuring factor of the value of the greenback.
The figure below, an index of the value of the dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, shows the dollar beginning its most recent appreciation around when the first salvos of the trade war hit. Relatedly, as Trump’s tweet mentions, the Chinese yuan is falling sharply against the dollar, down about 7 percent since April, a movement that directly offsets that same amount of Trump’s tariffs.
In other words, the president has a point. But while part of this is what he gets from inheriting a strong economy — something I suspect he wouldn’t trade — part of it is because of his and his party’s actions.
.. The Fed is different, as its independence from politics is so vital. There are many sad examples of countries whose economies did a lot worse than they should have because their central banks became an arm of the government.
.. That said, I’m not reaching for the vapors. I really wouldn’t want to see Trump ratchet up his Fed critiques to a regular feature of his daily rants.
.. So, if you’re listening, Mr. President, no point in whining about a currency appreciation to which you’re contributing. Whine as you might, you can’t have a “great economy” closing in on full employment, an independent Fed, a big tax cut, a trade war — and a falling dollar.
diverting demand equal to 3 percent of GDP from foreign to domestic products would not increase US output by 3 percent relative to what it would have been otherwise, let alone the 4.5 percent you’d expect if there’s a multiplier effect. Why? Because the US is close to full employment.
.. a 3 percent rise in output relative to trend would reduce unemployment about 3 times that much, 1.5 percentage points. And that just isn’t going to happen.
.. What would happen instead is that the Fed would raise rates sharply to head off inflationary pressures (especially because a 20 percent tariff would directly raise prices by something like 3 percent.) The rise in interest rates would have two big effects. First, it would squeeze interest-sensitive sectors: Trump’s friends in real estate would become very, very unhappy, as would anyone who is highly leveraged (hello, Jared.)
.. Second, it would drive up the dollar, inflicting severe harm on U.S. export sectors. Greetings, farmers of Iowa!
So protectionism wouldn’t do very much to reduce the trade deficit, even if other countries didn’t retaliate, and would inflict a lot of pain across the economy. And that’s without getting into the dislocations caused by disruption of supply chains.
.. Add in the fact that other countries would retaliate – they’re already drawing up their target lists – and the fact that we’d be alienating key allies, and you have a truly terrible, dumb policy idea. Which makes it quite likely, as I see it, that Trump will indeed follow through.