Trump Gives Investors Good Reason to Be Scared

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Pretty good editorial..

Trump Gives Investors Good Reason to Be Scared

This week’s fall in stock prices was about as unsurprising as President Trump’s explanation for the setback — “The Fed has gone crazy,” he said. Expect more of the same over the coming weeks and months, as the U.S. economy adjusts to the withdrawal of the Federal Reserve’s post-crash monetary stimulus, and a reckless administration persists in testing investors’ nerve.

Stocks have been generously valued of late, shrugging off bad policy too blithely. The outlook for public borrowing was worrisome even before Washington delivered a fiscal stimulus that an economy at full employment doesn’t need.
And Trump’s approach to trade, including the growing prospect of an outright trade war with China, might have been designed to cause maximum economic anxiety.

So far, the harm is to the outlook rather than to actual outcomes.
In the short term, the stimulus has added to demand and supported the expansion. And Trump’s threats to raise tariffs and other trade barriers still greatly exceed the changes put in place. He rebranded Nafta rather than shutting it down, and agreed to a cease-fire of sorts on trade with Europe. Even so, the effects of his new tariffs led the International Monetary Fund to shave two-tenths of a percentage point from its forecast of U.S. growth next year.

The real shift is to the balance of future risks: much less upside, and a truly alarming new downside.
 
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