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July 05 2018

moneymetals

Trump’s Trade Wars Could Spark Global Flight to Gold

President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policies are upending decades of global arrangements and entanglements. Globalists are aghast that the leader of the free world is openly confrontational toward NAFTA, NATO, the European Union, United Nations, and World Trade Organization.

In rebuffing the global community by pursuing unilateral tariffs and vowing to win trade wars against both rivals and putative allies alike, Trump is playing a high stakes game. Trump’s trade wars could test the U.S. dollar’s status as world reserve currency.

According to economist Brad Schiller, “Nations are willing to accept U.S. dollars in exchange for their goods because they trust that the dollar will retain its value… The long history of U.S. dollar stability gives the U.S. this unique trade advantage — a key reason we can import more goods than we export year after year.”

Schiller, like many conventionally trained economists, seems to believe that our ever-growing trade deficit benefits us. In the near term, we do get to consume more things. But countries that are sending us stuff in exchange for our dollars are effectively accumulating claims on our future.

China holds title to an enormous hoard of U.S. dollar IOUs. U.S. taxpayers now owe China more than $1.2 trillion. China ran a $366 billion trade surplus in 2017 alone.

President Trump has moved to impose tens of billions of dollars in tariffs on China and other trading partners including Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. They have responded with retaliatory tariffs affecting everything from wheat crops to Harley-Davidsons.

United states tariffs

Winning trade wars may not be as easy as Trump had thought.

Dying U.S. Senator John McCain, a longtime Trump detractor and globalist, is among those who are actively rooting against the U.S. administration and consoling foreign countries.

“To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t,” McCain ranted on Twitter.

It's not clear the failed former presidential candidate speaks for “bipartisan majorities of Americans” as he boasts. Nor is it clear that these foreign alliances reflect our “shared values.”





June 29 2018

moneymetals

Frank Holmes: Tariff War Akin to Raising Taxes, Recession Looms

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer at U.S. Global Investors. Mr. Holmes has received various honors over the years, including being named America's Best Fund Manager for 2016 by the Mining Journal. He is also the co-author of the book, The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investing and is a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business, as well as right here on the Money Metals podcast.

Frank, welcome back and thanks for joining us again. How are you today?

Frank Holmes: I'm great, and it's great to be chatting with you about this languishing gold market.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, we certainly have a lot to talk about. Never a dull moment here in these markets. To start out here, Frank, when we had you on back in March, we talked about the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump imposed. Things have escalated since then. The president is talking about tariffs on European automobiles and another $2 billion on imports from China. We're very curious about what impact this trade policy might have on the dollar and, by extension, precious metal. So far, at least, the dollar has been strengthening, but we aren't sure how seriously the markets are taking the possibility of a trade war becoming a currency war. If that happens, the U.S. certainly seems vulnerable. We have by far the most to lose given the dollar's status as a global reserve currency. What do you make of the recent strength in the dollar, and where do you think things may be headed if we wind up in a full-blown trade war?

Frank Holmes: Well, first, what I'd like to say is I wrote a piece said, "President Trump, you can't suck and blow a balloon at the same time." It was a just amazing feat to get corporate taxes down, and that was really the catalyst that launched the stock market, that fulfilled and provided visibility for the next several years of robust economic growth. When I talk to all the macroeconomists, all the macro analysts who are pointing out that immediately Walmart increased salaries as a consumer company, and a manufacturing company started spending more money on factory upgrades. 10 years since they've really spent a lot of money on durable goods. And that was really important for the metals as a whole.

But with this whole tariff war, well, that's basically raising taxes. Tariffs are always an indirect tax on an industry or sector of the economy, and it's defeating. And this week, the Fed chair was saying that, Powell, that he's getting feedback that exports are starting to be canceled because of the tariff battle right now. So I think the combination of the stronger dollar along with the tariff battle is only going to set us up for a recession faster than we thought, unless he can tune back what he's been talking about.

But I think to understand capital markets, the flows of funds, that historically when the two-year government bond, which is the bond that relates to all the short-term currency fluctuations, they compare 90 days and two-year government yields to the inflationary rate of their country, and then they look at all the countries and compare them to net positive return. And right now, the U.S. dollar is strong because the two-year government bond is above the dividend yield of the S&P 500. Well, as soon as that happened, immediately, pension fund institutions stopped buying stocks because they can turn around and get a guaranteed yield for the next two years with no risk on a dividend yield that's higher than what the S&P's forecasted to deliver in the future of two years and giving now.

So that creates this VIX explosion. And then we have this sort of fear that rates are going to continue to rise with the CPI number because inflation is rising, and that's put a dent in the price of gold and made the dollar strong. But a strong dollar at this stage, along with tariffs, is the worst thing for economic growth and prosperity. And Trump's ego is big enough and rational that he wants growth and he wants economic growth, so I think we're going to see in the second half, we've had a peak in rates, and we'll see rates come off. And I think then you'll see this move in the price of gold.

Mike Gleason: Setting aside any ramifications for the dollar, do you think the U.S. can win a trade war? I mean, the president certainly seems confident. On the one hand, we agree with an observation you made when we spoke last, China has stolen a lot of intellectual property, and it would be nice if we could do something about that. But on the other hand, tariffs are bound to raise prices for Americans. It's a tax, like you said, and there are plenty of examples of trade restrictions and that sort of central planning leading to all sorts of unintended consequences. So how do you rate the president's chances for success here, Frank?

​Read/Listen to the entire article here. ​


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