The money is coming
Trump wouldn’t be saying that if Senate leaders weren’t on board. I don’t think Democrats are going to discover some fiscal discipline so it certainly looks likely.
The contours of it are another story and that could be a problem. Trump continues to talk about a payroll tax cut but I think that’s unrealistic. He might just be saying it as election fodder.
Strong as an ox
The White House physician is out saying that:
- Pres. Trump’s physical exam shows no significant changes
- He weighs 244 pounds
- Trump took 2 week course of hydroxychloroquine with the zinc and vitamin D
- EKG was closely monitored during coronavirus preventative treatment. Completed regiment safely and without side effects
- Trump continues to receive regular Covid 19 testing. To date all results have been negative
PS. A report of a study to be published in New England Journal of Medicine is saying that:
- Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine failed to cut infection rates
- The drug provides no Covid 19 protection
- 821 people were given drug in randomized controlled trial
The drug was of course the drug touted and taken by Pres. Trump to help prevent him from getting the Covid 19 virus. I wonder if he was part of the sample?
Nothing new here
Markets shuddered early in Trump’s talk because there was a lot of sound and fury but when he got to the actual policies, there was nothing new.
It’s a series of studies and minor measures. Every one of them was rumored, leaked or reported ahead of time.
Trump says he will take action against China
Strong comments to start, more to come. He brought Pompeo and Mnuchin, which is a hint of something big coming.
- Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us
- China unlawfully claimed territory in Pacific ocean
- China’s coverup of the Wuhan virus allowed it to spread all over the world
We’re still in the preamble but the tough talk has the market worried.
- We will be terminating our relationship with the WHO, redirect elsewhere
That’s not a factor for markets.
- Will issue proclamation on US university research
- Will ask for study to protect US investors (presumably from investing in Chinese stocks)
This was all rumored and isn’t a big deal.
- Have started the process of eliminated policy exemptions that give Hong Kong special treatment
- Directing his administration to “begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment” under a “full range” of agreements, from extradition to trade to technology. (Congress has much of this power)
- Will sanction directly or indirectly individuals involved in suppressing Hong Kong
All this was rumored or reported.
Stocks go positive.
President Trump speaking on a TV golf telecast (NBC) – Trump phoning in the comments.
Various remarks, but once again on his bungling of the crisis (latest update has US deaths above 88,000) seeks to blame others:
- Says COVID-19 destruction could have been stopped by China
- says US needs sports back to boost the country’s psyche
- we want big, big stadiums loaded with people
US President Trump and others in his administration have once again been ramping up anti-China rhetoric.
Which has brought the trade war back into focus. Currently we are at a ‘phase 1’ agreement (of many more to come potentially, phase 1 barely scratched the surface). With Trump’s blaming China, for pretty much anything and everything it seems, it raises the prospect of little progress ahead on trade issues. And with the US election to come in November its likely Trump will continue to aim belligerence at China.
Via the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) a representation of where tariffs are, in summary:
Keep on eye out for progress, though I do not expect any. Escalation of the trade war is a negative for ‘risk’ (we saw this last week with a drop in, for example, the AUD) as Trump’s bellicose comments gained market attention once again.
Trump interview with Reuters
- says China “will do anything they can to have me lose” 2020 election
- says looking at different options in terms of consequences for China for its handling of coronavirus crisis, says I can do a lot
- says trade deal with China has been “upset very badly” by the coronavirus
- says South Korea has agreed to pay united states a lot of money for defense cooperation
- says he does not see 2020 election as a referendum on his handling of virus
- says does not believe polls showing Biden ahead
Main points summary via Reuters.
The comments on possible retaliation against China do not read as encouraging for further trade talks. AUD down a few tics.
US funding to the World Health Organisation has been stopped by Trump
- while US reviews virus warnings regarding China
- says WHO was late to examine outbreak in China.
The US contributes around 400m USD to WHO each year, more than any other country.
- The WHO yearly budget is around 4.8 b USD.
- WHO uses the money for vaccine trials, distributing test kits, advising governments around the world and such.
Oil remarks from US President Trump.
The oil price has plunged at the opening to this week’s trade after weekend news and comments. Trump’s latest in that headline cutting a few cents out of it again.
- if oil price stays the way it is he would do very substantial tariffs
- does not think he will need to use tariffs in oil fight
(On that second remark, note that Trump has said a few times from late last week that expects Russia and Saudi to cut production, he’s mentioned by 10m barrels a day, perhaps 15m. Noter also though that the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for today has been put off to April 9. )
White House press briefing on coronavirus, Trump remarks
- Trump says they’ve bought a “tremendous amount” of hydroxychloroquine
- claims there are “strong signs” it works on the coronavirus
Trump says has a bought 29m doses of the drug
Anthony Fauci, America’s most respected infectious disease expert, and others emphasize that it hasn’t been proven safe/effective
Fauci pictured here behind Trump at an earlier briefing.