US-China trade conflict’s mounting impact on commodity flows and demand

The US-China trade dispute has evolved into a very different animal in the past year. After multiple bouts of tariffs and counter-tariffs, on August 23, Beijing slapped a 5% levy on US crude for the first time, targeting a commodity already influenced by the trade tensions, and adding to a swathe of US-origin commodities like propane, LNG and soybeans. This was part of a wider tariff on $75 billion of US imports into China. US President Donald Trump responded with raising tariffs on $550 billion of Chinese goods, and ordered US companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Click for full-size infographic In August, the dispute had spilled over into currency, with China allowing the yuan to breach the 7 per US dollar level for the first time in 11 years in retaliation for the US imposing new 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods. This was followed by the US Treasury officially designating China as a currency manipulator—a move that had been avoided by previous administrations due to its controversial nature. These developments have taken the trade dispute into uncharted territory, with risks… continue reading

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