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Jul 16, 2018

China files WTO challenge over US tariffs, as its economy slows – business live | Business I Business I The Guardian

China files WTO challenge over US tariffs, as its economy slows – business live | Business

Graeme Wearden

Larry Fink: Trade war will hurt America

Getting back to trade, the boss of asset management giant BlackRock has warned that Donald Trump’s trade dispute with China will hurt growth.
Larry Fink told Bloomberg TV that America’s economy would suffer if the White House imposes tariffs on an extra $200bn of Chinese imports (as it threatened last week).
Fink said that US economic growth has been strong in 2018, but it will weaken in 2019 if America escalates the trade war with China.
He predicted that:
GDP will slow down dramatically.....we’ll have even more uncertainty about the state of the world.
Fink added that shares would tumble if a full-blown trade war broke out, adding that “markets will speak louder than any single voice”.

Quantitative Trading (@fiquant)
July 16, 2018

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson says the UK’s new concept fighter jet will help the country ““fly higher, further and faster than ever before”.
Williamson explains that the Tempest could be operated by a pilot, or be flown unmanned (using a virtual cockpit, I think).
He hopes that the plane could be operational by 2035, and adds that Britain is open to partnering with other countries on its future fighter programme (as happened with the Eurofighter Typhoon, of course).

Tim Robinson (@RAeSTimR)
Swarming weapons, DEW, virtual cockpit - Def Sec wants Tempest flying alongside F-35 & Typhoon in 2035 #FIA18 #avgeek
July 16, 2018
Several major engineering and defence firms are already on board, including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.

Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies)
Heads of terms and contract about to be signed for the Combat Air Strategy and Tempest project. Team Tempest = BAE Systems, MBDA, Lombardo and Rolls-Royce. #FIA18
July 16, 2018

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UK unveils Tempest concept fighter jet

Over in Farnborough, Britain’s defence secretary has just unveiled a new concept fighter jet to protect the UK in the coming years.
It’s called “Tempest”, and dubbed a next-generation fighter jet that could eventually replace the Eurofighter.

Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies)
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson is at Farnborough International Airshow unveiling a sixth-generation fighter jet project to replace Eurofighter Typhoon. A lot of RAF top brass and defence bigwigs waiting with bated breath for the big reveal. Pics to follow. #FIA18
July 16, 2018
Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies)
Defence sec Gavin Williamson and chief of air staff Sir Stephen Hillier.
July 16, 2018
Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies)
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson: United Kingdom remains the world leader in combat air.
July 16, 2018
Kitty Donaldson (@kitty_donaldson)
The UK’s new Tempest aircraft
July 16, 2018
Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar)
We are living in “a dangerous new era” of warfare says ⁦@GavinWilliamson⁩ as he unveils the new “Tempest” fighter jet for the post-Brexit world.
July 16, 2018

Eurozone trade surplus falls (but not to America!)

Just in: the Eurozone suffered a drop in exports in May, narrowing its trade surplus with the rest of the world.
However, the euro area’s trade surplus with America has grown - which will not please Donald Trump.
Eurostat reports that the eurozone exported €189.6bn of goods to the rest of the world in May 2018, a drop of 0.8% compared with May 2017.
Imports from the rest of the world rose by 0.7% to €173.1bn, (from €171.9bn in May 2017).
This means the euro area’s goods surplus has shrank to €16.5bn in May, down from €19.3bn a year earlier.
The figures also show that the European Union exported 2.1% more goods to America in the first five months of 2018, but imported 3.1% less.
As a result, the EU’s trade surplus with the US has swelled to £54.8bn, up from £48.1bn a year ago [more details here].

Eurozone trade data
Eurozone trade data Photograph: Eurostat
Trump has other things on his mind today, of course, but this data might reinforce his belief that the EU treats America very badly on trade.


Here’s Associated Press’s take:

China announced it filed a World Trade Organization challenge on Monday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal for a tariff hike on $200bn of Chinese goods, reacting swiftly amid deepening concern about the economic impact of their spiraling technology dispute.
The one-sentence Commerce Ministry statement gave no legal grounds for the challenge or other details. It is an unusually rapid move for a trade case, coming less than one week after the U.S. Trade Representative [USTR] announced the tariff plan, which wouldn’t take effect until at least September.
The USTR said last week that it proposed the levy in response to Beijing’s decision to retaliate for U.S. tariff hikes over complaints China is hurting American companies by stealing or pressuring foreign enterprises to hand over technology....

The Associated Press (@AP)
China files WTO challenge to US $200 billion tariff plan.
July 16, 2018

This is a swift move by China.
By appealing to the WTO, Beijing is signalling that it won’t accept America’s proposal to slap 10% tariffs on a wide range of imports - from meat and vegetables to chemicals and consumer products (plus plenty of unusual items).

However, China still hasn’t revealed how it will retaliate against America’s plan to make $200bn of its imports less competitive.
That may be because Beijing can’t announce reciprocal tariffs, as it doesn’t import enough stuff from the US....

China files WTO complaint over US tariffs

Newsflash: China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation over America’s latest threat to impose levies on Chinese imports.
According to Associated Press, Beijing is protesting about the plan to hit $200bn of Chinese goods with a new 10% tariff (probably starting in September).

The Associated Press (@AP)
BREAKING: China says it has filed a WTO challenge to Washington's threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
July 16, 2018

Tom Rafferty of the Economist Intelligence Unit believes China’s economy has held up well despite the trade spat with the US.
However, he also expects growth to slow in the next few months.
Rafferty says:

“The data shows that global trade headwinds have yet to grip China’s economy. Despite the heated global rhetoric around trade and associated financial market volatility, China’s export sector performed well in the second quarter of the year and will probably prove quite resilient under the limited tariff actions we anticipate from the US and China.
We are more concerned about slowing domestic demand within China’s economy, with investment persistently weak and consumption also having slowed, and these are much more important drivers of growth than exports.
The fall in industrial output growth in June was notable in this regard. The authorities have begun to loosen policy settings, but will be reluctant to go too far given their desire to curb financial risks. As such, we expect growth to slow in the second half of the year and more markedly in 2019.”

ING economist Iris Pang has spotted an important detail in today’s Chinese growth figure.
China’s robot production only grew by 7.2% year-on-year in June, compared to 23% for 2018 as a whole.
That signals that factory bosses are worried about the future, and refusing to invest in new equipment right now.

Iris Pang 彭蔼娆 (@Iris_Pang_China)
China robot production has lose steam with other equipment manufacturing. This shows that exporters are pessimistic. Fiscal and monetary policy supports are vital to keep GDP growth above 6.5%, the government target.
July 16, 2018

A bull made with Lego blocks at the Frankfurt stock exchange.
European stock markets are subdued this morning, with the FTSE 100 dipping by 18 points (0.2%) in early trading.
Germany’s DAX has made a better start, up 0.35%, while the French CAC is flat (maybe Parisian traders are recovering from the World Cup).
Neil Wilson of says investors are awaiting developments in Helsinki, and not too alarmed by the Chinese growth figures....

Looking ahead, the Trump-Putin summit could have an impact on risk assets as the US president continues to show a willingness to disrupt the established world order. After calling the EU a ‘foe’ on trade, European leaders in particular will be wary about just how much Trump cosies up to Putin, which may dampen risk appetite. But at the very least it deflects attention away from Chinese trade wars for the time being.
Asian stocks fell as overnight China GDP data disappointed a touch but we can look through the noise here. There is little change from the last several quarters with growth holding just below the 7% level. The chatter is that trade war concerns are weighing on business confidence but this sounds more like a lot of noise.


Tusk: Let’s not start trade wars

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (centre), European Council President Donald Tusk (left) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (right) at a press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing today.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (centre), European Council President Donald Tusk (left) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (right) at a press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing today. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA
European Council President Donald Tusk has urged the world’s major powers, including China, to help prevent a global trade war that would hurt the global economy.
Speaking at the 20th EU-China summit, Tusk called for policymakers to strengthen and reform the ‘rules-based’ international setup, rather than unravelling it.
He also gave a pointed nudge towards the US-Russia summit which is taking place in Helsinki later today, saying:

“We are all aware of the fact that the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes. And it is our common responsibility to make it a change for the better.
Let us remember, here in Beijing, and over there, in Helsinki, that the world we were building for decades, sometimes through disputes, has brought about peace for Europe, the development of China, and the end of the Cold War between the East and the West.
It is a common duty of Europe and China, America and Russia, not to destroy this order, but to improve it. Not to start trade wars, which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history, but to bravely and responsibly reform the rules-based international order.”
Tusk has also tweeted that he hopes his message reaches the leaders of the US and Russia in Finland.

Donald Tusk (@eucopresident)
Europe and China, America and Russia, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it. I hope this message reaches Helsinki.
July 16, 2018

Iris Pang, Greater China Economist at ING in Hong Kong, argues that Chinese policymakers need to do more to boost growth.
She says:

“They need to slow financial deleveraging slightly and to turn their focus more on growth-supportive measures, for example increasing liquidity through (bank reserve requirement) cuts.
“If the situation gets worse a lot faster than what we expect I do think Chinese authorities need to beef up supportive measures, both fiscal and monetary.”

Reuters Top News (@Reuters)
China Q2 GDP growth softens as trade row stirs concerns on outlook
July 16, 2018

Bloomberg: Chinese GDP is a 'worrying omen'

Although China’s growth rate only dipped slightly, it’s a worrying sign for the health of the global economy, argues Bloomberg News.
They fear that the ‘spillover effects’ of China’s slowdown could hurt other countries, arguing:

Confirmation that China’s economy is slowing amid an escalating trade war is a worrying omen for global growth.
Data released since Friday has affirmed what’s been expected for some time: That an ongoing campaign to curtail credit is putting the brakes on the world’s second-largest economy. Given that China generates as much as a third of global growth, that’s adding to signs that the best world expansion in years is plateauing.
The International Monetary Fund, which has repeatedly warned that the trade spat between the U.S. and China will reverberate globally, is scheduled to release fresh growth forecasts later Monday.
The Chinese economy grew at an expected 6.7 percent in the second quarter, its slowest pace since 2016, while key readings on investment growth and industrial output slowed in June. Retail sales held up.

Bloomberg (@business)
China's cooling economy is a worrying omen for global growth
July 16, 2018

Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong, has warned clients that the trade row between Beijing and Washington could soon cause serious harm to economic growth.
“If the US and China do not resume talks in the next two months or so, the conflict will escalate further, with major economic implications for themselves and the global economy,”

Investment manager Mario Cavaggioni tweets:

Mario Cavaggioni (@CavaggioniMario)
China's economy slowed in line with expectations, signaling broadly stable output as the trade conflict with the U.S. intensifies. GDP rose 6.7% y/y in Q2, the slowest pace since 2016 and down slightly vs 6.8% in Q1. IP, retail sales and FAI also came in close to estimates. (BN)
July 16, 2018

Back in April, Beijing told state-owned banks to stop lending so much money to local authorities to fund building projects.
That clampdown is now hitting growth, argues Haibin Zhu, chief China economist at JPMorgan in Hong Kong.

“A main reason for the slowdown is that infrastructure investment began to slow down in the first quarter as the government was trying to control local government debt.
“The good news is that there is space to provide more fiscal support through tax cuts and higher infrastructure investment. We expect they will move along these lines.”

Mao Shengyong, spokesperson for China’s National Bureau of Statistics, has told reporters that the Chinese economy made a “good start” to 2018 - despite growth slowing a little in the April-June quarter.
Reuters has more details:
Noting increasing external uncertainties and the fact that China is still going through a critical stage in structural adjustment, Mao said the country would stick to the supply-side structural reform and coordinate efforts to ensure stable and sound economic performance.

The agenda: Chinese growth figures

A Chinese flag .
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
China’s growth rate has dipped to its lowest rate since 2016, in a sign that the trade dispute with America maybe hitting its economy.
Chinese GDP rose at an annual rate of 6.7% in the second quarter of 2018, partly due to slower-than-expected growth in factory output.
That’s a slight deterioration on the first three months of this year, when the economy expanded by an annual rate of 6.8%.
Although this is above Beijing’s goal of growth “above 6.5”, it will stoke concerns that the tariffs imposed by America this year are hurting. It could also show that the campaign to rein in shadow banking and risky lending is also restraining growth.
Official government figures also show that industrial output only grew by 6.7% year-on-year in June, down from 6.9%. However, retail sales jumped by 9% year-on-year, up from 8.5%.

the belgian dentist (@belgiandentists)
China’s data had something for everybody. Q2 GDP as expected at +6.7% yoy, though quarterly growth was up (1.8% ann. vs 1.4%). Retail sales accelerated in June but IP decelerated (blue in chart), while investment spending growth also eased a bit to 6.0% yoy.
July 16, 2018
China’s National Bureau of Statistics warned that there are “increased uncertainties” in the global economy (no prizes for who they’re thinking of...). It also argued that the Chinese economy is still on a “steady and improving trend”, despite the shadow of a trade war with America.

Vincent Lee (@Rover829)
#China data dump
Q2 GDP +6.7 pct y/y, +1.8 q/q adjusted (vs +6.7 and +1.6 pct Reuters poll)
June industrial output +6.0 y/y(+6.5 pct poll)

June retail sales +9.0 pct y/y (+9.0 pct poll)
Jan-June fixed asset investmetn +6.0 pct y./y (+6.0 pct poll)
July 16, 2018
Asian stock markets dipped following the data, with the Shanghai Composite down around 0.8%. European markets are also set for an underwhelming start to the new week.

Mike van Dulken (@Accendo_Mike)
#FTSE100 called to open flat at 7663, Miners likely hindered by China GDP of 6.7% YoY, in-line but the slowest since 2016, as Beijing tries to deleverage and which could worsen with a US-instigated trade war
July 16, 2018
I’ll pull together some reaction now.

Also coming up today

The International Monetary Fund is publishing its latest assessment of the global economy this afternoon. We also get new eurozone trade stats and US retail sales figures.

IMF (@IMFNews)
We will release the July 2018 World Economic Outlook Update on Monday, July 16, 10:00am. Watch the #WEO live press conference at
July 15, 2018
Investors will be watching Helsinki, as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin hold a summit. The meeting comes just days after 12 Russian military intelligence officials were indicted for allegedly trying to hack the Democratic party’s emails and computer networks during the 2016 election campaign.
Trump has given European leaders fresh cause for alarm, declaring that the EU is a “foe” given how it trades with America.

Trump arrives in Helsinki for meeting with Putin – video
Plus, there’s always Brexit. Overnight, Conservative MP and former minister Justine Greening has called for a second referendum, creating yet another headache for Theresa May ahead of more crunch votes in parliament this week.

Brexit will also be high on the agenda at Farnborough, as the aerospace industry gather for the International Airshow.

The agenda

  • 10am BST: Eurozone trade balance
  • 1.30pm BST: US retail sales
  • 3pm BST: International Monetary Fund releases its latest World Economic Outlook

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