China trade Trump yuan

Going Nuclear? Goldman Warns China May Soon Be Forced To Depreciate Currency, Sell Treasurys

"...there are simply not enough US exports to retaliate against."

You’d be forgiven if you were having trouble figuring out what Donald Trump is “all about” these days, because as we were pretty keen on pointing out Thursday evening, he’s not so sure himself anymore:

Agreed, Mr. President. Agreed.

Of course that clip is taken out of context for maximum humor, but the truly amusing thing about it is that if you actually go back and view it in context, it’s even crazier because he’s talking about Mexican rapists at a tax roundtable.


Anyway, Trump was on WABC Radio’s “Bernie & Sid in the Morning’’ program on Friday to “explain” what the likely fallout from the China trade spat will be and here’s what he had to say:

I’m not saying there won’t be a little pain. So we might lose a little of it but we’re going to have a much stronger country when we’re finished, and that’s what I’m all about.

And see, here I thought he was “all about” never “losing.”

Whatever the case, China is pretty goddamn sure America is going to “lose a little” too if the administration keeps pushing the envelope. Take these excerpts from a Xinhua commentary out this morning for example:

It seems Washington is betting that Beijing might eventually back down in a trade tit-for-tat if it continues to serve up tariff threats against Beijing. Not so.

The Trump administration threatened on Thursday to slap tariffs on 100 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of imports from China. The move came only days after the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) proposed to levy an additional 25 percent tariff on 50 billion dollars’ worth of China imports.

The United States is not short of intelligent economists, yet it appears that Washington is losing common sense on global trade, and trade relations with China, its largest trading partner for merchandise.

Yes, the U.S. is “losing common sense.” Obviously, all of these “commentaries” from Chinese state media are pure, unadulterated propaganda (more here), but one thing you should note is that this is what happens when someone as crazy as Trump is allowed to make important decisions: silly foreign propaganda starts to sound some semblance of sane by comparison.

Well if you were wondering what Goldman thinks about the latest salvo from the Trump administration, they’re out with something new on last night’s news. To wit:

Imposing tariffs on another $100 billion in goods would be much more disruptive than the initial round not just due to the larger amount of goods affected. In developing the list of $50 billion in products to be targeted for tariffs that was released on April 3, USTR explicitly targeted products where alternative country sources were available—i.e., where China makes up a small share of total imports—so that affected Chinese imports could be easily replaced with imports from other countries to minimize the impact on US consumers. The challenge the White House faces is that as the overall amount of imports targeted increases, a greater share of imports in the affected categories is likely to come from China and it would be harder to import sufficient amounts from other countries without a meaningful price increase.

The latest announcement of another $100 billion in tariffs creates a more binary outcome, in our view. We expected the first round of tariffs to take effect, albeit covering a smaller amount than the $50bn proposed earlier this week. The much greater negative effect on consumers that $150 billion in tariffs would have suggests that the odds of any of these tariffs taking effect is somewhat lower than it had seemed previously and that the White House is likely negotiate to avoid them. However, in the lower probability event that tariffs are imposed, this would have much more substantial economic effects than the initial proposal would have.

They go on to take up the issue we and others flagged this morning – namely that China would be out of simple options if Trump upped the ante to $150 billion in total tariffs, because that would exceed U.S. goods exports to China:


That opens the door to other, more destabilizing responses.

“In 2017, the US exported $131 billion in goods to China and imported $506 billion [so] if the US were to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion on imports, taking the total to $150bn, China would be unable to respond fully through retaliatory tariffs as there are simply not enough US exports to retaliate against,” Goldman writes, before going on to warn that this is where things get interesting:

However, China would have other means of retaliation. Although China would be unable to fully retaliate through tariffs on goods in the event that the White House imposed sanctions on $150 billion in imports, Chinese policymakers could take other steps to retaliate.

  1. a currency depreciation could be used to offset some of the effect of tariffs.
  2. Chinese authorities could sell some of its large official-sector holdings of US Treasuries, which would lead to a tightening of US financial conditions.
  3. Chinese authorities could limit access for US companies to the Chinese domestic market, particularly in the services sector, where the US exports $56 billion in services annually and runs a $38 billion surplus.

There you go. We are getting ever closer to the edge here and I guess what it seems like people are underestimating is Trump’s propensity to push us over.



15 comments on “Going Nuclear? Goldman Warns China May Soon Be Forced To Depreciate Currency, Sell Treasurys

  1. One day, after he sends this country’s economy into a mini-depression, Mr. Destructo will look into the midst of his deranged audience of kool-aid drinkers and say:

    “who knew trade wars can be so complicated and easy to lose?”

  2. PaulMiller

    Tweety Bird has taken gun protest, Russia/Russia/Russia, Democrat wins in swing states, etc. out of the headlines, and replaced them with “tough trump takes on China.” It’s all just words. No person was harmed during the making of this propaganda cycle.

    Once again, the supposed anti-trump news outlets have played right into his little hands.

  3. PaulMiller

    While the news media will focus on the foolishness of a trade war, and the impetuous, autocratic style of trump, I would wager that more than 50% of Americans agree that China has been protecting its industries to the detriment of the U.S., and that trump is right to take China on. That would be a higher percentage than his usual 40% base.

    Any concession that he gets out of China will seem like a trump win, regardless of his crazy methods.

    • Thanks PaulMiller for some calm insight. Regarding Goldman’s “other steps”, one should perhaps consider the likelihood of each actually happening in the context of their effects on China.

    • Paul, I read your posts and I think I know where you stand on pro/con trump. I clearly despise him, no mistake about that.

      I am also frustrated that so much news coverage begins and ends with trump’s name. If the trusted sources, i.e. CNN, MSNBC, and others too numerous to name, do not dispute the lies and exaggerations that fall out of his disgusting mouth, who will? Certainly not his brotherhood at FOX News! To not report and not dispute what he does and says would be much worse.

      And as Marty calls them, his “kool-aid drinking” clan has not changed much over the past couple of years. The more crap this buffoon brings upon us will eventually touch many in his kool-aid clan and I see some of them abandoning his sinking ship.

      The reason trump has reached this level today is because he knows, he knows in his gut that if he does not keep stirring the pot, he will end up in jail or at the very least, he will end up being embarrassingly removed from the Oval Office. This entire trump saga is only a TV show to him – he has no soul and does not care about any living thing, human or animal; everything to him is an act and he wakes every day just to see what people are saying about him now.

      Our day will come, perhaps even before November. Let all this crap remind us all to VOTE.

  4. It may true that some may experience momentary gratification (to no end, I might add) for those who harbor animus towards China derived from his tough talk and tariffs, I doubt very much that those who know better take any gratification from the fact that the man in charge doesn’t act based on knowledge, experience or studied and reflective forethought but upon an impulsive desire to fulfill campaign promises while seeking to remove Mueller and Stormy Daniels’ headlines from sight.

    If Destructo actually was the famed successful negotiator he “pressered” himself to be, he would have started out by putting forth a finely tuned negotiated proposal to China, to include hard and fast staggered deadlines during which times trade negotiators could sit down and hammer things out. Yet, such proposals would require him to engage in creative thought, knowledge of countless subjects, reading and writing, and patient and productive discussions with real experts and we all know he is incapable of all of that.

    And it’s clear as crystal that Trump has always been a failure at negotiating and a success at failure, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity (as Abba Eban would say). Instead, having zero patience (a critical character trait for a highly skilled negotiator) he habitually returns to destabilizing US and world markets, causing billions of dollars in losses to, among others, retirees and pensioners’ red and blue retirements accounts and further causing distrust in the American so-called leader at home and abroad.

    Being a world leader among 195 countries cannot be accomplished by being the world’s biggest bully by seeking to command the others to fall in line. This is especially so when someone like Trump is wholly ill-equipped in his own breath and depth of mind and character and with those who he chooses to take advice from.

    • Hello Marty! As I sit here right now listening to Sara Huckster at her podium pitch the reason that trump continues to support EPA evil Pruitt – because he is doing such a great job of “getting rid of all the unnecessary regulations” blah blah blah – I could use your entire post, changing only a few words here and there – and apply it to this Pruitt confabulation!

      Hundreds of people spent decades of years studying the condition of air and water, etc. and the changes and effects our non-regulated dispelling and exhausting were having on the air and water and the health of our humans and our animals and those humans who eat those animals, etc. – and somehow scientifically determined what regulations would be good to control the future well being of humans and animals and have resulted in scientifically proven successful regulations. (whew!) Science and medicine have further studied those results and determined very good results, maybe some tweaking would be necessary here and there.

      Then trump moves into the Oval Office and in a very short period of time thinks everything is in good order and we don’t need all those regulations that are costing his rich friends too much money to operate under those regulated guides and then puts in his man Pruitt to go about removing those regulations that have proven so good that trump sees no problem in current conditions so clearly we don’t need them and it is a waste of money to have these silly regulations. (whew!) Would love to see his reading material or reports of his studies to prove how unnecessary those regulations are!

      Ignorant people are being allowed to run amuck and destroy the well being of our country in more than just financial ways.

  5. I’ll add one more point to the negotiating / negotiator aspect of America’s position in all of this. I’ll venture a bet that with every president since FDR, except Trump, in every negotiation that took place, the president had America’s interest as their primary concern, as their client and fiduciary so to speak and not their own personal interest first.

    So, by way of example, in a negotiation between China and the US, with Reagan as president, there were two parties in interest: China and the US. While in a negotiation between China and the US with Trump as president, there are three parties in interest: China, Trump and the US, with the US having a subordinated interest to Trump’s interest. It’s ends up being all about Trump’s ego, how he looks and what his base thinks, and to the extent that the US and all Americans suffer for it, that’s just too bad. In fact, he’s not even capable to internalizing that collateral damage.

  6. Anonymous

    Is the Shanghai Accord dead?

  7. And I guess the US could cut off China’s food supply…The current account deficit and stealing of intellectual property problem needs to be fixed, unless of course Goldman Sachs wants to be subsidiary of the Peoples Bank of China in the near future.. Goldman Sachs knows this is true. They just don’t want to suffer the consequences; like many American’s did with their lives in WWII. In today’s imaginary war we are only talking about using paper money as the primary weapon although millions of good paying livelihoods have been forfeited over the last 30 years so that Goldman could get richer; or wait, is their net worth really just a bubble?

  8. Anonymous

    From reading this blog for sometime now, their are several responders who never fail to deliver a diatribe against Trump regardless of anything positive he does. I believe his stance on FAIR trade beginning with China and Mexico will deliver long term gains for the U.S. Even H. Never fails to call names and denigrate Pres. Trump. Writers Murphy and Marty among others spew their repetitive hatred of Trump each time you ( H) give an opening. One year later and it appears The President has accomplished much in spite of impolitic tweets. Just some alternative thoughts.

    • LOL! Comic mic night? You need to change a few things in your life, start with not watching FOX. If you think trump will accomplish anything positive with his bullying Mexico and China (and let’s not leave out Canada!) – well, let’s just say you need better meds. How do you not see that the only countries he loves are lead by Dictators?!? Even the KKK, white supremacist (are you a member?) think he is great.

      And now he sends our military to the Mexico border to pump up this little base of supporters (you!) and it is all based on his lies and exaggerations – it’s really to promote his bullshit re-election campaign so he does not have to pay for it, the U.S. Taxpayers are paying for it. Lord, you are not just blind, you refuse to see the truth. Nothing that falls out of his nasty mouth is the truth, absolutely nothing — he is still harping on illegal voting and bragging about how big his election win was and which states he won! It is all trash that was contrived to get him elected.

      That lowlife scum will be lucky to not end up in jail! His accomplishments this past year are a figment of his imagination and clearly yours too. At least 70% of America do not approve of anything he says or does! holy crap. and stop calling him that P name — total bullshit.

    • you poor guy/gal.

      it’s really unfortunate that people can’t see this for what it is. no matter how much evidence they’re presented with to support the contention that Donald Trump is a narcissistic moron, a failed businessman, a pathological liar, and a guy who wouldn’t piss on middle america if they were on fire, you persist in this fantasy precisely because you don’t want to believe that you could have been that gullible and stupid.

      but you are that gullible and stupid. and you’re being fucked everyday by this man. rather than admit what is obvious to everyone, you’ll suspend disbelief so you don’t have to admit that you might have been duped.

  9. And if any of you who are the object of therealheisenenberg’s comment want to take steps to do something about your having been taken in by the con and not being able to admit, I suggest you watch this TED Talk “On Being Wrong*, or this one, “How to learn? From mistakes.”



    • Both of those links were incredibly interesting. “On Being Wrong” – wow – there is a lesson in her conversation for both sides – the one who is wrong and the other one who thinks why that person is wrong. I especially liked the coyote and roadrunner analogy. Clever. I was tempted to turn it off in the first couple of minutes but I was determined to see it thru to the end. I am very glad I did. I learned from that. (maybe I need a lesson on having more patience!)

      The other one, “How to learn from mistakes” seemed like a bad fit with the comments we read in this blog – again, I watched thru to the end and laughed at myself more than once – and yes, I learned from that one too. Enjoyed them both!

      Then I went to one more in that link, “Willful Blindness” and at first thought it was also not a good connection to our subject since she began with people becoming ill from unknown dangers dug out of mines that were killing people — but being determined, I kept watching. Then there was a section about the Exxon Valdez oil spill and that perked up my interest a bit. The connection became more clear defining Willful Blindness is the legal concept as not ignorance but is “what a person could know, should know, but willfully choosing not to know” and why they do that and what happens as a result. Remarkable story and memorable. Worth a read, I’m adding it to your list.

      Exxon Valdez oil spill got my attention because a friend who worked with Exxon in the clean up, a person of executive level who believed that beach and those rocks could be cleaned and saved regardless of the masses who refused to accept it. Months later, he brought back a 5″ chuck of rock, sparkling clean and beautiful, presented to me as a souvenir of that effort – which I still have on my desk as my favorite paperweight.

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