Happy Sunday. A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
If you’re reading this on Sunday, then the US-China trade war has just escalated once again. Overnight, 15% US tariffs on Chinese goods worth an estimated $110 billion kicked in, as did Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods.
The world has already lived through two rounds of US tariff increases and Chinese retaliation. But this weekend’s tariffs, along with another round that has been delayed until December 15, are different than the ones that came before, according to Aditya Bhave, global economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
“For previous rounds of tariffs, there was clearly an attempt to stay away from consumer goods,” Bhave told me. “Now they’re running out of non-consumer goods.”
Popular shopping items like laptops, footwear and toys are being targeted. That could hit consumer confidence at a delicate moment for the US economy, when spending is making up for softness in the manufacturing sector.
JPMorgan Chase has predicted that the US tariffs imposed on China have already cost the average American household $600 per year. That will rise to $1,000 after the September and December tariffs take effect, according to the bank.
The December tranche is particularly risky, Bhave points out. That’s because, unlike previous rounds, there are few alternative countries from which US companies can import the products in question. China accounts for more than 80% of US imports of those goods.
What it means: Businesses won’t be able to shield customers by switching suppliers. Instead, they’ll likely need to pass the extra costs on.
Also watch: These tariffs will also hit China hard, Bhave said. “They have a pretty big capacity to take pain, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting,” he said. Keep an eye on the manufacturing sector, private investment and consumer confidence — as well as any announcements of fresh public spending.
Brexit is about to get even messier
UK lawmakers return from their summer vacation, which means the Brexit fight is about to be turned up a notch. Watch for more pound volatility ahead.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a shock last week when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for about five weeks — the longest suspension in decades — just as the October 31 Brexit deadline looms.
Now, lawmakers have just a few days before the suspension begins to introduce legislation that would bar a messy exit from the European Union without a deal to protect trade. They’ll attempt to do so this week.
A legal challenge to Johnson’s maneuver will also move forward this week in Scotland. A former British prime minister has joined a separate lawsuit to stop the move.
Meanwhile, Brexit negotiators continue discussions with their European counterparts. Downing Street has said they’ll meet at least twice a week in September.
Remember: A disorderly Brexit poses big risks for the UK economy and its trading partners. Germany, which is on the brink of recession, is watching developments closely.
US economy gets a third quarter reality check
Now a dispatch from my CNN Business colleague Anneken Tappe in New York on a big week of US economic indicators:
“Worries about the future of the US economy resurfaced in August, as the inversion of the Treasury yield curve flashed a recession warning.
Second-quarter GDP growth was revised down ever so slightly to 2% from 2.1% last week. And while the American consumer still appears strong in the face of a deteriorating manufacturing sector, Friday’s University of Michigan consumer sentiment index logged its biggest monthly decline since December 2012, thanks to the trade war.
If consumers reel back spending on the back of Washington’s trade tactics, the economy could feel some serious pain.
Economic data in the week ahead should give more insight into where we’re at in the third quarter. The ISM manufacturing index for August is due on Tuesday. But the biggest calendar item is Friday’s jobs report.
Consensus estimates put non-farm payrolls at 159,000, slightly below July’s level but still strong. The unemployment rate is forecast to be steady at 3.7%.”
Monday: China’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI
Tuesday: US ISM Manufacturing Index; UK Parliament returns
Wednesday: US trade balance; Australia Q2 GDP; Canada interest rate decision; American Eagle and Slack earnings
Thursday: US ISM Non-Manufacturing Index; CrowdStrike and Lululemon earnings
Friday: August US jobs report