“We’re doing tremendously well, our consumers are rich, I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they’re loaded up with money,” Trump said on Sunday.
But he was less optimistic than his aides on striking a trade deal with China, saying that while he believed China was ready to come to an agreement, “I’m not ready to make a deal yet.”
He hinted that the White House would like to see Beijing resolve ongoing protests in Hong Kong first.
“I would like to see Hong Kong worked out in a very humanitarian fashion,” Trump said. “I think it would be very good for the trade deal.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said trade deputies from the two countries would speak within 10 days and “if those deputies’ meetings pan out… we are planning to have China come to the USA” to advance negotiations over ending a trade battle that has emerged as a potential risk to global economic growth.
Even with the talks stalled for now and the threat of greater tariffs and other trade restrictions hanging over the world economy, Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” the United States remained “in pretty good shape.”
For bond markets, the sort of movement Navarro described is often driven by trouble – in this case the possibility that the trade battle with China is lasting far longer than expected and becoming disruptive to business investment and growth.
The US economy does continue to grow and add jobs each month. Retail sales in July jumped a stronger-than-expected 0.7%, the government reported last week, and Kudlow said that number showed that the main prop of the US economy was intact.
But manufacturing growth has slowed and lagging business investment has become a drag.
A slowdown would be bad news for Trump, who is building his 2020 bid for a second term around the economy’s performance. He told voters at a rally last week they had “no choice” but to vote for him to preserve their jobs and investments.
The president and his advisers have repeatedly accused the Fed of undermining the administration’s economic policies. On Sunday, Kudlow again pointed the finger at the central bank, describing rate hikes through 2017 and 2018 as “very severe monetary restraint.”
Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday joined the many economic analysts who have said the administration’s sometimes erratic policies on trade – at one point threatening tariffs on Mexico over immigration issues – are to blame for increased uncertainty, disappointing business investment and market volatility.