US: Trade fears cause uncertainty and disruptions

5 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

Consumer confidence slipped in June from 128.8 to 126.4 points, but still remains close to the 17-year record set in February of 130.0. The decline was driven by a -4.0 point drop in the expectations components, the biggest in seven months, perhaps reflecting concerns over how a trade war could affect the economy in the future. Indeed, retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods are already causing disruptions and uncertainty for domestic manufacturers, and on Friday the Trump administration proposed yet another round of tariffs on an additional USD200bn of Chinese goods. Other reports on housing show a market struggling with low supply and decreasing affordability. In May, existing home sales fell for the second consecutive month to a -3.0% y/y rate while prices rose +4.9% y/y. However, new  homebuilders are starting to catch up with demand as sales and starts rose +14.1% y/y and +20.3% y/y, respectively, while prices fell -3.0% y/y.