It’s official: the current government shutdown is now the longest in history. Now in its 24th day, there is still no clear way out of the mess, as Trump refuses to budge and instead spends his time firing Tweet after Tweet out. On Sunday night, he threatened to devastate Turkey economically if they attack Kurdish forces following on from his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. Yesterday, he suggested that the shutdown is the fault of the Democrats, despite previously claiming he would be ‘proud’ to shut the government down.
Yesterday afternoon, Trump spoke to reporters in Washington, where he predicted that the US and China will reach a deal to end the trade war. He claimed that the US was winning concessions from China that previous administrations would have been laughed at for requesting. The claims came on a day where China reported the biggest ever trade surplus with the US at $323 billion. It is worth pointing out that the two largest economies in the world have to reach a trade deal by the end of February. At that point, Trump will increase tariffs on more than $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. That will almost certainly force China to retaliate.
It is pretty quiet day in the US today, although there will no doubt be much to talk about with the government shutdown now officially the longest in history. There will be a couple of speeches from the Federal Reserve’s Neel Kashkari and Esther George. It will be interesting to see whether they have anything to say about rate hikes in 2019.
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