Trade deficits and tariff wars

President Trump believes that if you are running a large deficit it should be easy to “win” a trade war. The problem with this argument is the EU and China may decide to engage. In 2016 the US ran a deficit of $505bn on trade in goods and services, according to the World Bank. Germany … Continue reading “Trade deficits and tariff wars”

Will the US infrastructure plan be effective?

The United States (US) presidential plan is to raise $1.5trn to $1.7trn to spend on US infrastructure over the course of the next ten years. The proposed plan aims to restructure the permitting process, which is currently inefficient and may have actually disincentivised investment efforts. Where is the money coming from and what will it … Continue reading “Will the US infrastructure plan be effective?”

The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them

In theory the President sets out a budget in February and the Congress responds with a Budget resolution in May. In practice the Congress runs the budget, and has just passed a two year budget deal regardless of the White House proposals that crossed in the post with their decisions. President Trump’s wish to cut … Continue reading “The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them”

The US budget should help economic growth

The Trump administration White House has set out its preferred budget for 2019. It is likely the House and Senate will wish to tone down its dramatic proposals. The President’s wish is to boost military and veterans expenditure substantially, whilst cutting back hard on various other departments and programmes. A 13% increase in defence is … Continue reading “The US budget should help economic growth”

One year of Trump

January 20th marked Donald Trump’s one-year anniversary as US President.  So far, his tenure has proved controversial and divisive, both domestically and abroad. His attempts to take credit for the performance of the US economy and equity market should be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly given the considerable momentum carried over from his … Continue reading “One year of Trump”

Trump – one year on

A year on from Donald Trump’s election as US president, political and economic pundits are grappling with a big question: what is the significance of Trump? Is his presidency a boorish blip or a symptom of deeper malaise? Before Trump’s election, markets were fearful about the ‘bad things’ that he promised – American isolationism and … Continue reading “Trump – one year on”

Why the markets ignore North Korea

Kim Jong Un, the North Korea leader, has consistently provoked the US and South Korea. A series of ballistic missile tests, nuclear weapons development, a substantial conventional weapons arsenal, chemical stockpiles and aggressive statements are a reminder that this authoritarian thug regime wishes to be noticed and is working to achieve greater military power. Meanwhile … Continue reading “Why the markets ignore North Korea”

The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US

President Trump promised the USA the art of the deal when he came to office. He conjured a view of a successful businessman cutting a better deal for working America, with a new approach to trade, tax, infrastructure spending and the rest to promote a more prosperous country. Seven months on, some are asking if … Continue reading “The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US”

When smooth waters cause ripples

It is proving to be a healthy quarter of results for US banks and the outlook is fine, regardless of what might or might not happen about regulation. The banks have decent economic growth to thank for much of their own health. Higher interest rates have been good for bank lending and net interest margins … Continue reading “When smooth waters cause ripples”

The Republicans fall out and the dollar weakens

One of the surprises for markets this year has been the weakness of the dollar. Last year, investors built up large speculative positions expecting the dollar to go better. The US was beginning to increase its interest rates and would in due course reduce its stockpile of government bonds held by the Fed. As more … Continue reading “The Republicans fall out and the dollar weakens”