President Donald Trump’s promise to impose tariffs on goods until Mexico halts the flow of undocumented immigrants is being panned by analysts and economists. U.S. stock futures headed south, with S&P 500 futures poised for their worst week since the global market rout in December.
Here’s a sample of reaction commentary:
MUFG, Chris Rupkey
“If you are going to turn the world upside down with these America First trade sanctions against imports from China, car imports from Europe, and now immigration from Mexico, you risk turning the economy upside down,” Rupkey wrote in a note. “Keep your eye trained on stock market valuations as the magnitude of the decline will tell you when investors have had enough and are rushing to the safety of cash in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world.”
RBC, Lori Calvasina
Sees “more downside risk in the S&P 500 near-term,” partly because “the market hasn’t really had much of a pullback yet.” RBC doesn’t expect a “trade deal with China will be reached anytime soon,” while “Trump’s Thursday evening tweet regarding new tariffs on Mexico seems likely to add to investor angst.”
Without an earnings “reset” to help equities find a bottom until at least mid-July, “this waiting game, in the context of crowded conditions and expensive valuations in U.S. equities, makes a 10% retracement (peak to trough) more likely.” Calvasina is also worried about the 2020 elections, calling Elizabeth Warren’s better polling “troubling” from a stock market perspective.
Deutsche Bank, Torsten Slok
“This is a serious risk to the outlook,” Slok wrote in a note, adding that “trade with Mexico is basically all about the supply chain, which essentially is all about cars.”
Goldman Sachs, Alec Phillips
Goldman views Trump’s moves as an “attempt to show action on the immigration issue while also pressuring congressional Democrats to pass” the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Enacting USMCA before the 2020 election “would no longer be our base case if these tariffs are implemented as proposed.”
The U.S. imported $352 billion in goods from Mexico in 2018, and exported $265 billion; a 5% tariff rate would generate roughly $18 billion in tariff revenue annually, well below the $62 billion that the 25% tariffs already in place on $250 billion in imports from China will raise. The largest categories of imports from Mexico, he said, include autos and auto parts ($93 billion), computers ($27 billion), routers ($10 billion), and other electronics ($17 billion).
Raymond James, Ed Mills
Trump’s Mexico actions point to further deterioration in the U.S.-China trade fight. “Chinese officials have stated their concern about the reliability of President Trump as a trading partner,” he said. “These tariffs were announced the same day as significant advancement of the USMCA. If China does not believe a deal will stick, why negotiate? We think these actions put into further doubt that a substantive Trump-Xi meeting is possible at the G20 next month in Japan.”
Veda, Henrietta Treyz
“This tariff threat may be tamped down but doing so will require extensive efforts by vested interests, lobbyists and senior lawmakers,” Treyz wrote in a note. “Regardless of the outcome this week, investors should expect this threat again in the future,” she added.
Based on Veda’s conversations with senior Republicans on Thursday evening, Treyz put the odds of the tariffs going into effect at at least 40%, with 60% “equally appropriate in our view.”
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