Is Tariff Fatigue a thing? It should be. We've all been hearing and reading about it for the past year ad nauseam. For those with young kids or grandkids, imagine hearing Baby Sharkplaying over and over and over again. Next week, about a dozen manufacturer's tariff-related prices increases go into effect (see table below). Depending on the manufacturer and product class, these increases fall anywhere from 6 to 15%. Barring any further escalation in our trade war with China, hopefully we'll have seen the end of this flurry of price increases for the balance of the year.
Yes, we have Tariffs for you too
But while we've all been focused on China (and recently, Mexico), did you know that we're also engaged with a trade war with India? Citing another "hefty trade deficit", The Trump Administration ended India's "Generalized System of Preferences" status, a program designed to help developing countries sell to U.S. consumers. This happened June 5th. Last week, it was reported that India retaliated with tariffs on US goods as high as 70% affecting agricultural goods, chemicals and finished metal products. "Baby Shark, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do".
And then there's that little drone strike...
What potentially may have a greater impact on us, is the other "trade war" were waging with Iran. Last month, The Trump Administration levied energy sanctions against Iran, effectively cutting off oil exports to the US. Yesterday, we imposed new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation's leaders and the crippled Iranian economy in retaliation for striking down one of our drones.
Are we playing chess or checkers?
We all know the markets abhor uncertainty and the latest drama and sabre rattling between The Trump Administration and Iran is stressing oil futures. In the oil sector, Iran is a legitimate energy superpower, controlling 10 per cent of the world's proven reserves of oil, and about 15 per cent of proven gas reserves. It wasn't that long ago we witnessed (in the electrical industry) this butterfly effect that the oil market has on manufacturers of PVC conduit and other products produced of plastic resin. It may be premature to make this leap as there are no indications thus far of prices increases in PVC products. I may just be suffering the effects of Chronic Tariff Fatigue and seeing my plastic cup made of resin polymers as half full. Economic sanctions are only as effective as the number of countries participating. Not surprisingly, unlike India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, China has shown no indication of supporting sanctions against Iran. A chess move possibly setting the stage for a prolonged trade war with China? "Run and hide, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do".