Trade

Trump Watches TV, Demands Trade Deal From Staff

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump is getting desperate, according to Bloomberg, and he's demanding that his staff put the finishing touches on a trade deal with China as quickly as possible for purely superficial reasons.

Sources who spoke to Bloomberg say Trump has become fixated on every whim of the stock market and wants to see the numbers go up on his television screen.

As trade talks with China advance, Trump has noticed the market gains that followed each sign of progress and expressed concern that the lack an agreement could drag down stocks, according to people familiar with the matter. He watched U.S. and Asian equities rise on his decision to delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for March 1, one of the people said. [...]

Trump’s fixation on stock-market performance has shaped his assessments of his economic policies. Top White House staff know to be aware of how markets are performing when summoned to the Oval Office to speak with Trump because the president often asks: ‘‘What’s happening with the markets?’’

Advocates of concluding a deal within the administration have seized on that fixation to bolster their case, one person said.

If Trump is as fixated on the market as this reports makes it seem, that may increase the chance that he will sign off on a deal that does not include everything he supposedly wants in the name of political expediency. Because he can't have it both ways. The easiest and quickest path to appeasing the whims of the market is to sweep this all under the rug and forget the trade war ever happened.

Trump launched his trade war for superficial reasons in the first place so ending it for superficial reasons certainly wouldn't be out of character.

  • katanahamon

    He could improve the market immediately by dropping all the stupid tariffs..but hey, what do all the experts know…

  • muselet

    It’s a truism, but it bears repeating: The stock market is not the economy.

    Setting economic policies to goose the markets is foolish at best. First, markets represent only a part of the economy, whether national or global (an important part, yes, but a part). Second, markets are not rational actors, bloodlessly making optimized decisions; markets are run by overclocked chimpanzees (h/t Kevin Drum) who regularly make impulsive and irrational decisions.

    If Donald Trump ends up signing a trade deal with China that accomplishes something because he’s obsessed with the markets, we can chalk it up to his doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      I like to think of the stock market-economy relationship like the weather-climate relationship.

    • Tony Lavely

      There you go, talking sense again.