The U.S. economy is defying expectations as it surges to record levels, leaving the economies of Europe and Asia struggling to keep up, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
U.S. Treasury yields have increased modestly but steadily even as rival economies have decelerated in 2018, and the September jobs report pushed the yields to their highest levels since 2011, according to WSJ. Treasury yields represent the return on investment, expressed as a percentage, for owners of American debt. The yields jumped to 3.19 percent Wednesday, further incentivizing global investors to purchase American debt.
Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist at PGIM Fixed Income, told WSJ that while the American, Asian and European economies are all growing, the U.S. economy’s acceleration is lasting far longer than expected while competitors drop off. Germany’s treasury yield also grew Wednesday, but the U.S. economy grew faster, widening the yields gap to 2.7 percentage points, the widest gap since 1989, according to WSJ. Tipp claimed the gap could grow as wide as 3.25 percent.
China is also feeling the heat as the value of the yuan falls against the U.S. dollar as Chinese markets are closed for holidays. With the dollar worth 6.8975 yuan as of Thursday, some experts expect that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will try prevent it from hitting the seven mark. The yuan trading so badly against the dollar could be disastrous for Chinese investors and incentivize trading elsewhere.
“I still see depreciation pressure at this moment because there is a divergence between the Fed and PBOC monetary policy,” Ken Cheung, senior Asian currency strategist at Mizuho Bank in Hong Kong, told WSJ. (RELATED: The US Economy Grew At 4.1 Percent In Second Quarter 2018)
The U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods worth an estimated $34 billion in July. China immediately retaliated with reciprocal trade penalties, upping the ante in the trade war that had long been expected.
The Trump administration placed a steep tax on solar panels and washing machines in early 2018, triggering an initial skirmish with China, the world’s largest producer of solar modules. Trump put tariffs of 25 and 10 percent on foreign-made steel and aluminum in March, which caused the trade dispute to escalate. China retaliated with tariffs on U.S. exports worth roughly $3 billion.
Toward the end of March, the Trump administration announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese products worth an estimated $50 billion as punishment for China’s egregious and ongoing theft of American intellectual property. The latest tariffs are part of that larger package of trade penalties, and there is the possibility that the president may move to place tough taxes on Chinese products worth several hundred billion dollars in addition to existing tariffs.
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