Global equities faced another impediment as the Trump administration on March 1 announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, increasing the potential for retaliation from our trading partners, particularly Canada, Mexico and China. We think the immediate impact of the new tariffs will be limited and may be a political tactic as the US begins renegotiating NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
Our major concern, which we pointed to in our 2018 1st Quarter Economic Outlook: The potential start of a global trade war, as countries retaliate with tariffs on an increasing number of products. As the chart at left shows, currently the US is not a high-tariff country compared to others worldwide. LNWM Chief Investment Officer Gino Perrina and his team are keeping a close watch on developments in trade for signs of escalation. Escalating trade wars would be negative for global economic growth and increase uncertainty particularly for export-driven firms.