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Over the weekend, it finally dawned on Goldman that a protracted trade war - which it not really a trade but a defining clash of the world's two most advanced superpowers - is bad for the US economy. Yes, the bank which for the longest time was expecting 4 rate hikes this year and for the US-China "trade war" to magically end with an amicable handshake and a hug some time in the next few months, and which only changed its forecast to a rate cut after Powell said he would engage in "mid-cycle easing", has now once again flip-flopped and in a report published on Saturday warned that it now expects a "bigger hit from the trade war" for the US economy.
The policy uncertainty effect may lead firms to lower capex spending as they wait for uncertainty to resolve. Relatedly, the business sentiment effect of increased pessimism about the outlook from trade war news may lead firms to invest, hire, or produce less. Using industry-level data, we find that greater exposure to sales to China has been associated with slower capex growth as the trade war has intensified. We estimate a total uncertainty and sentiment drag on GDP of 0.1-0.2%.
Estimate - Growth - Impact - Trade - War
Overall, we have increased our estimate of the growth impact of the trade war. In our baseline policy scenario, we now estimate a peak cumulative drag on the level of GDP of 0.6%, including a 0.2% drag from the latest escalation. The drivers of this modest change are that we now include an estimate of the sentiment and uncertainty effects and that financial markets have responded notably to recent trade news. Based on our estimates, we have taken down our Q4 growth forecast by 0.2pp to 1.8% (qoq ar).
Yet while Goldman may only now be realizing that trade wars tend...
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