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Politics & Money

Economy-busting trade war expected to worsen, Beacon Policy tells clients

Even "skinny deal" unlikely at Oct. 10 and 11 meetings, Beacon says

The U.S.-China trade war that has slowed the economy and made homebuilding more expensive isn’t likely to end at the negotiations slated for Oct. 10 and 11, according to Beacon Policy Advisors, a Washington research firm.

“While we acknowledge an interim deal is possible, particularly if Trump is feeling concerned about the stock market, at this point we believe equity investors are overpricing the likelihood of even a skinny deal coming to fruition,” the research firm wrote in a note to clients on Friday.

One reason, according to Beacon, is: The trade war is no longer just about tariffs. On Monday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro confirmed in an interview with CNBC that the White House is looking at issues related to Chinese stocks listed on U.S. exchanges while deriding as “fake news” reports saying those measures include the forced delisting of Chinese companies and other measures

When pressed by CNBC reporters to cite anything specific that was wrong in the news reports from outlets such as Bloomberg, The Financial Times and Reuters, Navarro responded:

“There’s some interesting and significant transparency issues with Chinese stocks, but that’s all I’m going to say, I’m not going to talk about what’s going on behind closed doors.”

Even if the White House isn’t planning on booting Chinese companies off U.S. exchanges, Navarro made clear that measures beyond tariffs are now on the table, Beacon said.

“While we are skeptical that the Trump administration will apply the kind of capital controls to China that spooked the markets last Friday, we still think that other non-tariff measures could lead to an escalation in the trade war,” the Beacon note said.

And, of course, China isn’t the only U.S. trading partner targeted by Trump. The European Union is next in his sights, as Bloomberg reported on Friday:

“Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to impose tariffs on European exports ranging from wine and spirits to cheese and airplanes, after the World Trade Organization authorized $7.5 billion in U.S. duties against the EU,” Bloomberg wrote. “This would deliver a serious blow to Europe’s aircraft industry and hit export orders for U.S. manufacturers.”

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