The Plow Horse Economy Returns? We haven’t been worried about a trade conflict with China…However, we are more concerned about President Trump’s recent tariff threat toward Mexico…Using tariffs to achieve policy goals outside of foreign trade makes it much more difficult for international companies to plan ahead.
Don’t Count on a Rate Cut. The US economy is nowhere even close to needing one rate cut much less two. Nominal GDP – real GDP plus inflation – was up at a 3.8% annual rate in the first quarter, is up 5.1% from a year ago, and is up at a 4.8% annual rate in the past two years, all well above the federal funds rate of 2.375%.
Trade War Hysterics. Anyone can invent a scenario where some sort of Smoot-Hawley-like global trade war happens. Realistically, though, that appears very unlikely…In the end, China wants to trade with the West, not North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela. China needs the West. And all these trade war hysterics just aren’t warranted.
The Big Picture and the Fed. If you take a long hike up a mountain, there’s plenty to appreciate along the way. But, sometimes, you just have to stop and enjoy the view. With that in mind, let’s forget about the April employment report – which saw a combination of very fast payroll growth and moderate wage growth – and think about where the labor market stands in general.