Traders were cursing CNBC’s Joe Kernan for interrupting a quiet Thursday afternoon with an interview where President Trump finally laid into the Fed, declaring that he’s “not happy” about rising interest rates and the weakening yuan. The comments sent the dollar and stocks lower as the White House scrambled to issue “clarifications” asserting that the president “respects the independence” of the Fed.
It turns out CNBC had more footage from that interview, and in a clip released just after 6 am ET on Friday morning, President Trump said he’s “ready to go to 500” billion and slap tariffs on every single Chinese-made product entering the US.
“I’m ready to go to 500,” Trump said, roughly the value of Chinese goods imported to the US last year.
“I’m not doing this for politics. I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country,” Trump said in a CNBC interview aired Friday. “We are being taken advantage of and I don’t like it.”
The US imported roughly $500 billion in Chinese goods last year, though the deficit has been shrinking since the Trump trade war began, which means that at half a trillion, Trump would be taxing every single product imported into the US from China.
The news sent Dow futures sliding as much as 130 points, as fears about President Trump’s escalating trade spat with China reemerged in thin mid-summer trading.
Watch the clip, which aired on “Squawkbox”, below:
Trump’s latest comments mark another escalation in his rhetoric. Earlier this month, the US confirmed it would impose tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods. At the time, he said if China retaliated, there would be tariffs on a further $16bn of goods and held out the prospect of eventually taking the tariffs up to the full $500bn.
Sectors exposed to the threat of a deeper trade dispute bore the brunt of the reaction on European markets, with the index tracking the region’s carmakers down 2.2 per cent.
The interview aired after stock markets in Shangai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong had closed. The CSI 300 index of mainland China stocks ended the day up 1.9 per cent, bouncing up from a six-session low hit earlier in the session. However, Yuan trading was still open and after the Trump comments, the USDCNH tumbled again, dropping as low as 6.825 after recovering most losses earlier.