It has been a continuation of another difficult week across the markets as uncertainty about trade and Trump’s administration continue.
The week started at an optimistic note as a report indicated that China and the United States were negotiating a deal that would iron out the key issues. Recently, the Chinese authorities have showed their willingness to open up their markets and fulfil the requirements the United States wants.
These hopes were dashed yesterday after a report from a communist newspaper said that the authorities were compiling a more detailed list of American imports to place tariffs on. This list will go further than the one released last week, which placed tariffs on goods worth more than $3 billion.
At the same time and amidst the chaos, the United States amended a trade deal with South Korea. The new deal was a win for both countries with South Korea getting exemptions from the US tariffs while the US getting a more opened market in the country.
In Europe, it was reported that the two most powerful countries were at loggerheads about how to react to Trump’s tariffs. While Germany has favored negotiations and concessions, France has advocated for a more tough stance on the United States. In case of a trade war, Germany would be heavily affected especially if Trump retaliates by imposing tariffs on German-made cars.
Another source of concern was in the technology sector, which saw significant losses. The trouble started after a report from The Guardian showed how Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook to target ads. The report raised concerns that the technology industry would be more regulated going forward.
Yesterday, a report emerged that suggested that Donald Trump was interested on punishing Amazon. For months, Trump has talked about his dislike for Amazon, a company that employs thousands of people. His hatred for the company comes from Jeff Bezos ownership of Washington Post, a publication that has become a thorn in the president’s side due to it being an ardent critic of the incumbent. Another major news yesterday was that Tesla was downgraded by Moody’s which caused the stock to fall by more than 10%. Uber also added to the Nasdaq’s techno-woes, since one of its self-driving car struck and killed a woman – causing other tech giants including Nvidia to suspend (actually they will be testing it virtually) their self-driving car technology on real streets.
In the cryptocurrencies market, Twitter followed the footsteps of Google and Facebook and started banning the ads. This led to the currencies to continue the slide that started early this year. This leaves the situation for the currencies a bit complicated as developers will have no way of spreading their message.
Yesterday, the Consumer Board released data that showed that America’s consumer confidence was declining. This was a reflection that the continued challenges facing the president were significant. Trump faces many challenges including a legal one where the Special Counsel is investigating him and his campaign.
Crude oil prices fell this week from the highs reached a week ago. The prices fell as inventory data from the United States rose more than expected. Data released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that stockpiles rose by more than 1.6 million barrels while the Cushing stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels. The decline in price was also as a report of the reduction of tensions in the Middle East which pushed Brent to $70 a barrel last week.