Well, President Dennison was on fucking fire today.
The hits came pretty much nonstop, starting with a comically ridiculous sendoff for Gary Cohn who Trump globalist-shamed in what was most assuredly not a “light-hearted” goodbye:
Trump on tax cuts, last cabinet meeting with Gary Cohn:
"He's going to go out and make another couple hundred million and then he's maybe going to come back… I don't know if I can put him in the same position though. He's not quite as strong on those tariffs as we want." pic.twitter.com/c7Daxv1JKA
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) March 8, 2018
In the same meeting, Trump talked about rich people buying “rocket ships”:
President Trump mentions Elon Musk and other private rocket company founders: "They love rockets, and they're rich. So they're going to be a little less rich probably." pic.twitter.com/xCpbSj7oVn
— CNBC (@CNBC) March 8, 2018
I guess he’s “big” Rocket Man.
And then came the tariff announcement. To be clear, this was bullish because in breaking with pretty much everything he and Navarro have said over the past week, it turns out everyone is potentially exempt from measures that he claimed no one would be exempt from.
Although the official announcement wasn’t scheduled until 3:30…
lick balls Dennison.
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) March 8, 2018
… AP leaked the details of the announcement prior to the unveiling. Here are the headlines:
- MEXICO, CANADA EXEMPTED INDEFINITELY FROM METAL TARIFFS: AP
- TRUMP TARIFFS TO TAKE EFFECT IN 15 DAYS, AP REPORTS
- COUNTRIES CAN NEGOTIATE EXCLUSIONS FROM TARIFFS, AP REPORTS
We don’t want to criticize that because that’s just the kind of conciliatory stance the world needs, but it certainly raises the following question: if you’re going to exempt Canada and Mexico “indefinitely” and you’re going to allow everyone else to negotiate for their own exemptions, well then why do this in the first place?
Here’s the official headline dump:
- TRUMP LINKS TARIFFS TO COUNTRIES PAYING SHARE OF DEFENSE BUDGET
- TRUMP WILL REVIEW OTHER MILITARY ALLIES FOR TARIFF EXCLUSIONS
- TRUMP: WILL HOLD OFF TARIFF ON CAN/MEX, SEE IF NAFTA DEAL DONE
- TRUMP: WILL CUT DOWN ON CHINA TRADE DEFICIT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
- TRUMP SAYS OPEN TO MODIFYING TARIFFS ON INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES
- TRUMP: LIGHTHIZER TO LEAD TALKS W/ COUNTRIES ON LIFTING TARIFFS
- TRUMP DEFENDS TARIFFS AS ESSENTIAL TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY
- TRUMP SAYS FOREIGN GOVTS SUBSIDIZING FLOOD OF CHEAP METALS
Look what Gary is missing out on!
Backstreet's back, ALRIGHT!!! pic.twitter.com/JtIgJQ0gbF
— Thornton McEnery (@ThorntonMcEnery) March 8, 2018
Wilbur doesn’t even look real – Weekend at Bernie’s.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 8, 2018
President Trump: "A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security. Absolutely vital. Steel is steel. You don't have steel, you don't have a country." pic.twitter.com/8KFNzNmR36
— Axios (@axios) March 8, 2018
By the time it was all said and done stocks were higher across the board, rallying on the AP leak, fading as Trump spoke, and then rallying into the close. Fifth straight day of gains for the Nasdaq:
Here’s S&P futs since Gary’s goodbye:
The loonie has had a helluva time trying to figure things out this week:
Here’s the peso rallying on the exemptions headline:
This seems like a good time to bring in Mario Draghi from the ECB presser:
— Bloomberg Economics (@economics) March 8, 2018
Good point. Although we already know the answer. For Trump/Dennison, literally everyone is an “enemy.”
And just in case the afternoon needed to get a little more interesting in FX land, we got this:
- U.K. OFFICIALS ARE SAID TO SEE NO BREXIT DEAL TILL NEXT YEAR
The ECB meeting resulted in a tweak to the forward guidance on QE (the explicit reference to increasing asset purchases was finally pulled), but the updated staff projections underscored the Goldilocks narrative by tipping better growth prospects and still-subdued inflation, with the HICP forecast for 2019 revised slightly lower. The result: a whipsawed euro or, perhaps more poignantly, a masterful job of implementing a hawkish shift in the policy statement and then immediately negating the FX impact with jawboning:
Later in the day, Bloomberg reported the following:
The European Central Bank’s internal staff calculations on the future path of monetary policy assume asset purchases totaling 30 billion euros ($37 billion) in the fourth quarter, according to euro-area officials familiar with the matter.
That’s dovish too, as it quells fears of a cold-turkey approach to APP starting in September.
European stocks rallied into the close and you can attribute that to the upbeat growth outlook if you like, but I’d be inclined to cite the falling euro:
German 10Y yields came back in after spiking when the ECB statement hit:
That appeared to trigger gains in Treasurys.
As a reminder, we got the latest trade data out of China overnight and exports soared.
- CHINA FEB. EXPORTS RISE 44.5% Y/Y IN DOLLAR TERMS; EST. 11.0%
Obviously The Lunar New Year holiday makes this impossible to interpret definitively, but don’t expect Trump to care about the nuance as China’s February exports to the U.S. were $31.7 billion while imports from the U.S. came in at $10.8 billion, leaving a surplus of $20.96 billion.
Oh, and fuck this P.O.S, because it’s going to zero:
Finally, for your moment of zen, we go to President Dennison again…
President Trump: “Your father … is looking down, he’s very proud of you right now.”
Local steel worker union president: “Oh, he’s still alive.”
Trump: “Oh, he is? Then he’s even more proud of you.” pic.twitter.com/rLKIlMDzkr
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 8, 2018