President Donald Trump sent shock waves through the stock futures market on Sunday, after tweeting plans to increase tariffs on a growing list of Chinese goods to 25%. The move comes as the president says trade talks with China have been moving too slowly and hopes the tariff increase will help bring Chinese negotiators back to the table.
Despite frequently touting progress in its trade discussions with China, the announcement on Sunday leaves many wondering if a trade deal is still likely at this point. Stock futures plunged well over 1% on Sunday, as traders digest the unexpected news.
Last Week A Potential U.S.-China Trade Conclusion Seemed Imminent
Media outlets were reporting on rumors from an unnamed source that the trade talks were believed to be nearing a positive conclusion with a long-term agreement. Furthermore, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin commented that “he hopes that the U.S. negotiating team would soon be able to recommend a deal to Trump or tell him that one could not be reached,” according to Reuters.
Trade negotiations are scheduled to continue this week, as the Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to travel to Washington D.C. The Trump Administration hopes that its latest move will pressure China into honoring any agreements to further purchase American goods.
Volatile Trading Week Likely Ahead, Key Economic Data In Spotlight
At one point, stock index futures were showing big losses, including an indication of the Dow Jones opening down 450 points. Futures have since seen a slight rebound, but the Dow is still off 361 points, Nasdaq is down over 124 points, and S&P 500 futures are over 40 points lower. It is a high probability that Monday’s trading session could see some volatility.
Tuesday through Friday shows that several important economic events are on tap. On Tuesday, Randal K. Quarles, the vice chairman of supervision at the Federal Reserve, is set to speak at 8:30am EST. On Wednesday, Lael Brainard, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, will speak at 8:30am EST. On Thursday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is slated to speak at 8:30am EST, which is also when April’s Producer Price Index (PPI) results will be released. On Friday, all eyes will be on the April Consumer Price Index (CPI) results, which are also slated to be released at 8:30am EST.
While the market has seen a swift recovery since the last “tariff tantrum,” markets are certainly vulnerable at this point. There is some worry among traders that a long-awaited trade deal with China could be on thin ice. This week will be an important time to carefully analyze how talks progress and whether or not China will impose retaliatory measures. Bottom line…brace for some volatility.