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The U.S. Economy Was Stronger Without Economic Advisors – Ep. 491

Recorded August 6, 2019

Trade War: New Tariffs and Accusation of Currency Manipulation

Yesterday was the worst day of the year for the Dow Jones.  At one point, we were down about 950-odd points.  I think we closed down under 800; 767 points.  But it was a follow-though from the weakness that we had on Friday and the news, too, that we had on Friday about the escalation of the trade war, where Donald Trump announced the imposition of new tariffs on China.

Normal Movements in a Currency Market

But what happened overnight in China was the yuan went below 7:1 against the dollar. This is the first time it has been that low since China started to allow its currency to appreciate against the dollar. It had been appreciating… now 7 is not that much weaker than it was when Donald Trump became President.  The Chinese yuan is only down 2-3% since Trump took office. That’s not a whole lot, when it comes to a currency. Everybody is up in arms; now Trump is upset that the Chinese are weakening their currency, when the currency has not weakened very much.  In fact, the U.S. dollar is down about 2 or 3% against the Swiss franc since Trump became President. So what’s the big deal? Switzerland isn’t accusing the United States of manipulating its currency, just because the currency dropped a few percent. These are normal movements in a currency market.

Dow Trading Higher after China Blinks?

But the minute the yuan dropped below 7:1, everybody was saying, “Currency War!”  and “Who knows how much further the yuan is going to drop?” And so that sparked a lot of selling in the Chinese market.  And so the U.S. market went down… I think the futures went down maybe about 300 Dow points or so before we opened.  But then, as soon as we opened, we sold off hard and we did have a little bit of a rally into the close, so we closed off the lows, but as soon as the U.S. stock market closed, the futures sold off again. I think at one point last night, the Dow was off another 4-500 points before reversing on the Chinese yuan having a fix, I think, that was a little bit higher than the markets were worried about, so that caused the traders to breathe a little sigh of relief that the yuan didn’t fall again. So that sparked a rally.