Trade wars


U.S. farmers have been on a tear to move soybeans to China in front of the 25 percent tariff the Chinese government has said it will impose on U.S. agricultural products. Soybean exports, alone, are up 9400 percent. This same trade war will naturally boost inventories as many industries continue to race against tariff deadlines. From steel to lumber to bourbon, over 6,000 products are involved in the tariff tussle, many of which also affect every facet of construction, retrofits and apartment operations.

The U.S. trade deficit related to tariffs in 2017 totaled $568 billion, much of which is due to an imbalance in trade agreements according to President Trump.

Looking forward, trade talks with Canada and Mexico continue in the wake of last week’s win with Europe and places new pressure on China. Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed that the EU will import more soybeans and energy from the U.S. For its part the U.S. will suspend taxing auto imports from Europe.

Builders, in particular, are watching the tariff tussle with bated breath. While unlikely, should China not blink, builders could take a take a hit like never before.