Instead, Let’s Talk A Little About The Economy Today, Where There’s Some News, Not All Of It Bad…
• First of all, Apple announced it’s expanding operations and hiring more people in the U.S. That’ll include increasing the size of its corporate headquarters and already existing corporate satellites, and spending $1-billion and hiring 15,000 people for its new corporate campus in Austin, Texas.
• And China started buying U.S. soybeans again. Although not enough quite yet to really help U.S. farmers sitting on stockpiles. Exports of soybeans have plunged, as China targeted them for retaliatory tariffs in the trade war Trump started. China’s the world’s biggest consumer. And in just the past 2 days they’ve bought 2-million metric tons or so. According to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. stockpiles might be as high as 26-million metric tons, so it’s barely a dent. But it’s a start. China deliberately targeted agricultural products first precisely because they are perishable. Commodity traders are not convinced quite yet that things are getting back to normal: the March soybeans futures contract actually fell on the news. Meaning investors are skeptical prices will hold up between now and March, since a long-term agreement is far from in the bag, so the pace of buying might not continue.
The resumption of soybean purchases by China is at least a sign of good will in unfreezing trade talks with the U.S. after Trump and China’s President Xi agreed to a cease fire in their trade war. It also means both the U.S. and China have compartmentalized trade efforts and the detention and possible extradition of a high ranking Chinese tech CEO in Canada (even if Trump himself hasn’t, exactly). And it also means when Trump blurted out China would be doing this, and China cast doubt on his remarks, that didn’t mean there wasn’t a deal, just that they were irritated the U.S. President took the spotlight when in this case it should’ve been theirs.
• Now for the not-so-good news, but hardly unexpected: the U.S. budget deficit continues to balloon to new records, hitting its widest gap ever in November. According to numbers released by the Treasury Department, the federal government spent more than $400-billion dollars last month, and took in only $200-billion. That means it has to borrow money to make up the rest. And that creates problems because the government then has to pay more and more money just to pay the interest on the money it’s already borrowed. Dig a little deeper into the actual numbers and you’ll find so far this fiscal year, outlays for “Interest on the Public Debt” are up 9% to $67-billion. That’s more than half of the cost of the entire U.S. military…Just to pay the interest on some loans.
Trump’s people’s response is what it always is: just wait. The salutary effects of last year’s huge corporate tax cut will come. And it will start paying for itself. Next year, for sure!
• Oh yeah, now The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Manhattan U.S. Attorney is investigating whether Trump’s inauguration funds were misspent…Can’t get away from it no matter how hard we try…