October 14, 2019
We have a quiet open to the week, with bond markets closed for the holiday in the U.S. This follows the big U.S./China trade deal that was announced in the Oval Office on Friday.
Big? Of course, people are picking apart the lack of detail, skeptical that an actual deal was made. Some are scrutinizing the heavy demands that aren't part of the deal. And of course, at the moment, it's a hand shake. And a hand shake with the Chinese Vice Premier, not President Xi.
With that, there is an overwhelmingly skeptical tone in the media about the prospects of seeing a formal deal, and, in the near term, the influence this "deal" will have on markets and the economy. Much of the skepticism is underscored by the view that Trump is forcing/manufacturing an end to this trade war (i.e. it's not a real deal).
But people are forgetting that Trump started the trade war. And he has maintained enough leverage so that he can finish it (when he sees fit). That appears to be the approach he has taken.
If he says its a deal, and ultimately removes tariffs. Then it's a deal.
And whether it looks great or not, or has big impactful consequences long-term, it clears the overhang of uncertainty, now, that has been weighing on markets and the global economy. With that, we'll get to see what the unfettered power of fiscal stimulus, structural reform and ultra-easy global monetary policy can do for a U.S. economy that already has very solid fundamentals (record low unemployment, record household net worth, record consumer credit-worthiness, a record low household debt-service ratio, well-capitalized banks, low inflation, affordable gas).
That should be plenty of tailwinds for a re-election. And Trump likely turns back to China for the big demands in a second term.