Updated at 10:59 a.m.
Ding! The trade fight between the U.S. and China has officially kicked off today with the announcement that China will institute retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods and reinstate levies on American automobiles.
On the heels of the news, the market took a nose dive, the Washington Post reports:
The levies range from 5 to 10 percent and take effect Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 — the same dates President Trump’s latest tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods are slated to kick in — the Chinese finance ministry said in a statement.
A 25 percent tariff on automobiles and a 5 percent levy on auto parts take hold Dec. 15.
In an speech to policymakers and economists today, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy is in a “favorable place” but faces “significant risks.” The complete transcript of his history-laden speech is available at federalreserve.gov, but a few highlights include:
- "Our challenge now is to do what monetary policy can do to sustain the expansion so that the benefits of the strong jobs market extend to more of those still left behind, and so that inflation is centered firmly around 2 percent."
- "We have much experience in addressing typical macroeconomic developments under this framework. But fitting trade policy uncertainty into this framework is a new challenge. Setting trade policy is the business of Congress and the Administration, not that of the Fed."
- "Moreover, while monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment, and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade."
- "Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States."
On Wednesday, President Trump made headlines for saying his life would be easier if he hadn't started a trade war with China during an impromptu press conference. But he assured reporters in attendance that he was the "chosen one" to take on the job. Right now, investors are surely hoping that he is.
In a response to Chairman Powell's comments, Trump tweeted: "As usual, the Fed did NOTHING!" He also went on to question whether China is the enemy or Powell.
This tweet has since been deleted by the President Trump.