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China will not hesitate with 'major response' to new tariffs Ministry of Commerce
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China will not hesitate with ‘major response’ to new tariffs: Ministry of Commerce

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said late Thursday that he instructed the United States trade representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China. Stock index futures fell sharply after the news, with Dow futures off more than 200 points, on fears of retaliation by China.

“We believe this is a battle between unilateralism and multilateralism, a fight between protectionism and free trade,” the Ministry of Commerce representative said. “This is not good for China, or the world. Facing this serious problem, we must fight resolutely.”

“We have prepared with a bottom-line mindset and have planned detailed action. We won’t start a war, but if someone does, we will definitely fight back,” the representative said.

He added there was no merit to talk the two countries were discussing trade behind the scenes.

Thursday’s announcement follows the Trump administration’s late Tuesday proposal for 25 percent tariffs on imports of roughly 1,300 Chinese product lines valued at $50 billion, ranging from machinery to vaccines. Less than 24 hours later, China’s Ministry of Commerce revealed a list of 106 imports from the U.S. that will be subject to a 25 percent tariff, including soybeans and cars.

No effective date for China’s planned tariffs was announced at the time. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has planned a hearing on its proposed duties for May 15.

— CNBC’s Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.

I'm not saying there won't be a little pain from the proposed trade tariffs
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‘I’m not saying there won’t be a little pain’ from the proposed trade tariffs

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One after visiting White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, U.S., April 5, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States has already lost any trade war, as he defended his proposed tariffs against Chinese goods, saying the move might cause “a little pain” but the United States will be better off in the long run.

“We’ve already lost the trade war. We don’t have a trade war, we’ve lost the trade war,” Trump said in a radio interview with New York radio show, 77 WABC’s “Bernie & Sid.”

“I’m not saying there won’t be a little pain, but the market has gone up 40 percent, 42 percent so we might lose a little bit of it. But we’re going to have a much stronger country when we’re finished.

“So we may take a hit and you know what, ultimately we’re going to be much stronger for it,” Trump said.

GOP worries about trade war influence on farm belt vote
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GOP worries about trade war influence on farm belt vote

Terry Morrison of Earlham, Iowa, watches as soybeans are loaded into his trailer at the Heartland Co-op, Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Redfield, Iowa.

China may be less likely to deal on trade after new tough talk from President Donald Trump, and the GOP is getting worried the party will suffer in the farm belt, according to political analyst Greg Valliere.

 

Valliere, who is Horizon Investments’ chief global analyst, said a GOP source told him the risk of soybean tariffs by China will hurt Republican candidates in the farm belt and even beyond. “There goes Iowa,” he quoted the source as saying.

Trump on Thursday night said he may slap tariffs on another $100 billion of Chinese goods, after China matched an earlier $50 billion round of Trump tariffs with $50 billion of its own.

China’s tariffs target goods and agricultural products, causing particular concern for soybean farmers. The tariffs threaten to hit farm states that were strong supporters of Trump in the presidential election, as Republicans prepare for November midterm elections.

“The ‘headline risk’ president has stunned Washington — and it takes a lot to stun Washington these days,” Valliere wrote in a note. “We still think a trade war can be avoided, but our confidence has been shaken; Donald Trump is itching for a fight and the Chinese will not tolerate public bullying from him.”

Valliere said Chinese officials have privately said that trade concessions are necessary, especially on intellectual property and tariffs on U.S. cars, but Trump may have made China less likely to deal.

Trump economy brings black workers back into labor force
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Trump economy brings black workers back into labor force

 

The growing U.S. economy and improving business environment is bringing black workers back into the labor force, BET founder Robert Johnson told CNBC on Friday.

 

Johnson, the nation’s first black billionaire, spoke before Friday’s jobs report, which showed nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March, falling well short of the 193,000 gain economist were expecting.

In January, the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate among black workers was at its lowest since at least the early 1970s, when the government began tracking the data. The unemployment rate for black Americans spiked in January and then fell in February. The rate was unchanged in March at 6.9 percent.

“When you look at that [January report], you have to say something is going right,” said Johnson, a Democrat and founder and chairman of The RLJ Cos.

“You have to take encouragement from what’s happening in the labor force and the job market,” Johnson told “Squawk Box.” “When you look at African-American unemployment, … you’ve never had African-American unemployment this low and the spread between African-Americans and whites narrowing.”

Johnson said that means the jobs market is “soliciting employees who have been out of the labor force, some of it based on discrimination, some of it based on changes in education, access and technology changes.”

Additionally, the business environment in the U.S. is also good, Johnson said. “I believe if you take into account the Trump tax cut, you take into account the drop in unemployment, … and you take into account that interest rates are fairly stable” the economy is going to grow, he said.

“I believe the economy is on a strong growth path,” he added.

President Donald Trump has touted the black unemployment rate both on Twitter and his State of the Union address in January. Critics say Trump can’t take full credit because black unemployment had been on the decline before Trump took office.

Johnson has said he has known Trump for years. Johnson met with the then president-elect in 2016 and said he believes the president wants to work with African-Americans and all Americans to boost the economy.

Johnson also spoke again about a job offer he received from Trump. He said he didn’t take the unspecified position because he didn’t want a government job and not because of the president’s policies.

Manufacturing industry leads job gains in March, continuing comeback under Trump
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Manufacturing industry leads job gains in March, continuing comeback under Trump

 

Overall, nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March and the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, coming up short of Wall Street expectations. Economists had been expecting a payrolls gain of 193,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a point to 4 percent.

The construction industry was the jobs loser for the month, cutting 15,000 jobs in March after adding more than 60,000 in February.

The retail industry — which has fluctuated between net job gains and losses over the past few months — cut 4,400 jobs in March. The government said that employment declined by 13,000 in general merchandise stores, offsetting a gain of the same size in February. Over the past 12 months, employment in retail trade has shown little net change.

Correction: The retail industry cut 4,400 jobs in March. An earlier version misstated the month.

Ethiopia has new prime minister, while China-style economics continue
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Ethiopia has new prime minister, while China-style economics continue

Ethiopian farmers threshing grain with bullocks on January 18, 2017, in Lalibela, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s population, the second largest in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, has a median age of 18, according to Morley.

“Clearly, far greater private-sector involvement is going to be necessary if sufficient jobs are going to be created and growth be made sustainable over the medium to long term,” she said.

Despite the growth of industrialization, agriculture still accounts for one third of GDP. Low wages are an issue faced by those in newly-generated manufacturing jobs.

“Headline figures mask substantial variations,” Morley explained.

But given the pressing civil unrest which overturned Ethiopia’s political order two months ago, privatizing the economy while attempting to pacify ethnic divides would be a huge challenge for Abiye. He will likely “tinker at the edges of economic policy for the time being,” Morley said.

Just found out about new Trump China tariffs last night
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Just found out about new Trump China tariffs ‘last night’

 

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, told reporters Friday that he only found out about the latest proposed tariffs against China on Thursday night.

 

Trump proposed tariffs Thursday on an additional $100 billion in imports from China. The president has previously called for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as well as duties on $50 billion in other Chinese goods.

Stock markets declined Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 700 points, or about 3 percent, Friday afternoon.

When the Dow was down about 100 points, Kudlow told reporters he thought markets might take the latest trade developments harder than they had. The former CNBC senior contributor has repeatedly said the tariffs may not even go into effect and that they’re an early part of a negotiation process between the two nations.

Later in the day, he insisted the president was not using tariffs as just a “negotiating card.” Kudlow said the U.S. may give China a list of suggestions for trade policy it wants to see change.

Asked about Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin‘s comment Friday that a trade war is possible, Kudlow said “we are not in a trade war.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, said Thursday that Trump “absolutely” still believes trade wars are easy to win.

Kudlow has increasingly become the face of the administration’s response to investors’ concerns over Trump’s trade policies. A former Wall Street economist and aide in the Reagan administration, Kudlow is known for his free-trade views, but he has pushed the president’s more protectionist policies, arguing that China needs to be more open and fair.

He told Bloomberg News on Friday that tariff negotiations had not actually begun yet, and that he believes China’s response to the administration’s complaints “has been unsatisfactory.”

China swiftly pushed back against Trump’s new tariffs.

“We will immediately fight back with a major response,” a representative of China’s Ministry of Commerce said Friday morning. “We have no other choice.”

CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

Nonfarm payrolls increase by 103,000 in March, vs 193,000 jobs expected
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Nonfarm payrolls increase by 103,000 in March, vs 193,000 jobs expected

 

“If one were to only focus on this single month, the March employment report is on the disappointing side,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “Broader context is appropriate, however. The job market is widely regarded to be close to full employment. So, hiring gains should be slowing at this point in the expansion.”

In addition to the payrolls news, the closely watched average hourly earnings figure rose 0.3 percent, against estimates of 0.2 percent. The number equates to a healthy but not worrisome 2.7 percent rate on an annualized basis. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

Stock market reaction to the report was muted, with major indexes lower largely on renewed worries over a U.S. trade war with China.

“Wage growth continues to inch higher but not enough to worry markets at this point,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “As we move closer and closer towards full employment expectations are that headline employment should slow. This number reflects a continued reversion to the mean.”

Professional and business services led with 33,000 new jobs while manufacturing and health care added 22,000 new jobs apiece. Mining rose 9,000 while construction lost 15,000 positions and retail fell 4,000.

In addition to the weak March growth, January’s total was revised down from 239,000 to 176,000, though February got a boost from 313,000 to 326,000.

The wide swings in monthly numbers “is a good illustration of the inherent volatility in the nonfarm payroll data,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “The March gain was the worst in six months. The February gain was the best in 2½ years.”

Job creation skewed heavily to part time, which rose by 310,000 while full-time positions fell by 311,000, according to the household survey.

The March government number differed strongly from an ADP/Moody’s Analytics reading earlier this week that showed private payrolls up by 241,000. The BLS report indicated that all but 1,000 of the new jobs came from the private sector.

“Weather disruptions played a key role in the weak reading,” said Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist at S&P Global Ratings. “One million jobs were disrupted because of weather in March. Translating that to payrolls means a lot of people weren’t counted.”

Weather distortions are common for March, which saw just 78,000 jobs added in 2015 and 73,000 in 2017. March 2009 also was the worst month for job losses during the Great Recession with a plunge of 802,000.

Labor force participation slipped to 62.9 percent as those considered not in the labor force jumped by 323,000 to 95.3 million.

The report comes amid a series of mixed signals for the economy.

Data earlier this week showed factory orders on the rise though spending is slowing. Consumer sentiment is at a 14-year high, but worries are percolating over a brewing trade war between the U.S. and China.

Federal Reserve policymakers watch the jobs number closely. The central bank is widely expected to hike its benchmark interest rate in June and at least once more before the end of the year. The Fed is keeping an especially close eye on wages for signs of inflation.

Get the market reaction here.

The countries that could benefit from China’s trade tariffs on the US
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The countries that could benefit from China’s trade tariffs on the US

 

A broad swathe of economists and corporate executives are criticizing the mounting trade spat between the U.S. and China, with many American business leaders fearing damaging retaliation for the tariffs President Donald Trump has been unveiling since March.

 

To date, both countries have announced hundreds of billions of dollars worth of import tariffs on each other’s goods.

But while the larger part of market experts seem to agree a trade war would be generally bad for the whole world, there are some countries that could indeed benefit from Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods, as it creates potential room for other trade partners to expand their own exports.

“There are definitely economies that can benefit from the trade tariffs,” said Jim Barrineau, head of emerging market debt relative at Schroders. If the dispute becomes a longer lasting trade war, Barrineau said, “China could step up direct investments into agriculture, metals, and energy producers throughout emerging economies to diversify sources of goods away from the U.S.”

Trump tariff threats harming US Ex-Treasury chief Larry Summers
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Trump tariff threats harming US: Ex-Treasury chief Larry Summers

 

President Donald Trump‘s tariff threats appear to be doing more harm than good to the United States, former Treasury Secretary and Obama administration economic advisor Larry Summers told CNBC Friday.

 

“This is a policy that’s in the ‘Stop, or I’ll shoot myself in the foot’ category,” he said on “Power Lunch.”

“This is the first time when we’ve started making threats that seem to be boomeranging against our own economy. The stock market suggests they’re boomeranging against our own economy, the CEOs of major U.S. manufacturing say they’re boomeranging against the U.S. economy,” added Summers, who ran Treasury during Bill Clinton’s presidency and was director of the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama.

The escalating trade conflict between the U.S. and China is causing fear among investors about a possible trade war. Stocks fell sharply on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down more than 550 points.

Trump’s latest action came Thursday, when he threatened additional tariffs on $100 billion of China goods. China has promised to “immediately fight back with a major response.”

Summers agrees there are “real problems” with China and more needs to be done to address issues such as China’s intellectual property theft. However, he noted that the Europeans, Japanese and others also have the same issue.

“The right way to take those problems on is together with other nations, not in a way that is so truculent, so inconsistent with international norms that we drive the rest of the world to siding with China, which has been the effect of the approach that has been taken here,” he said.

He also said it shouldn’t be done in a way that “damages the interests of more American firms than are helped.”

Alan Tonelson, founder of the public policy blog RealityChek, said while he’d like to see the U.S. work with other nations, he called it “the trade policy equivalent of the unicorn.”

That’s because the U.S.’ major trading partners have cut their own deals with China and many directly or indirectly helped China divert a flood of steel into the U.S., he said on “Closing Bell.”

“We have no trade allies,” said Tonelson.

Meanwhile, the stock market action isn’t helping the U.S.’ case, Summers argued.

“When every time we make a threat our own stock market collapses, it kind of seems unlikely that’s going to be a lot of leverage against the Chinese.”

Earlier Friday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Power Lunch” the Trump administration is prepared for the chance the trade dispute with China escalates.

“Our objective is still not to be in a trade war with [China],” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be able to work this out … There is the potential of a trade war.”

— CNBC’s Tae Kim contributed to this report.