And welcome to September – let’s get down to it, shall we?
“It’s the economy, stupid.” – James Carville’s quote as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton’s successful campaign against sitting president George H. W. Bush.
Due to the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, as of September 1st, there’s a 15% tariff on the majority of consumer goods with a focus including flat-panel television sets, printers, flash memory devices, power tools, cotton sweaters, bed linens, toys, and many types of footwear.
Chinese and American officials plan to hold trade talks in Washington in early October, in another attempt to stave off the short and long term uncertainty about the global economy.
If the trade war is not resolved, starting October 1, the tariff rate will increase to 30% on furniture, vacuum cleaners, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, handbags, and luggage. Forget that trip to Ikea or your basic Michael Kors purse until this is resolved.
In short, this could potentially upend the holiday retail season. Who is gonna eat the tariffs? Certainly not Walmart, Target, or Macy’s.
While everyone has a different opinion as to whether or not a recession is pending, one thing that everyone will be watching is the U.S. consumer confidence index (CCI), defined as the degree of optimism about the U.S. economy that consumers express through their spending and savings.
If Americans don’t feel secure in the economy and spending shrinks, that’s when the volatility index (VIX) spikes & everything just goes to hell in a hand basket.
And now for something completely different: Brexit
According to the Guardian, Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top adviser or evil Brexit mastermind, depending on your perspective, told friends that it’s going to be “fucking weird” this autumn. That’s an understatement.
Hoping to divert attention from the most recent constitutional crisis since the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the proposal for Irish Home Rule in 1885, the prime minister adopted a rescue dog and named the pup, Dilyn. Suffice to say, the Official Mouser of Number Ten a/k/a Larry the Cat was not impressed.
Fake Mews; I’m going nowhere. https://t.co/QvxwVTAokS— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) July 27, 2019
As it stands, on October 31, the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Full disclosure: I’m a Brit as well as an American and less than impressed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bout of procedural treachery by suspending Parliament until October 14th.
Johnson referred to as “BoJo” by the British media, is scheduled to meet the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, in Dublin and upon his return to London, the beleaguered prime minister is expected to try again for a general election on October 15th – almost guaranteed to fail a second time.
Why should you care? Throw in hard borders between Northern Ireland vs the Republic of Ireland, diplomacy, security, and destabilizing tensions which could jeopardize the Good Friday Accord and you have concerns that violent sectarianism is on the rise again.
While U.S. President Trump has signaled that the US will work with the UK to create a new trade deal following Brexit, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will not consider a new trade deal until the situation in Ireland is resolved.
Then there’s the British pound, sterling, quid – whatever you want to call it, it’s fallen more than 20% in value against the US dollars since UK voters backed Brexit in June 2016. The once-coveted currency is now lower than the euro – speaking of which…
If the UK leaves the EU, there’s a good chance that Italy follows and then you’re looking at the end of the euro. All of this adds up to increased volatility which is fun on carnival rides, not so much for the global economy and stability.
Other dates of note between now and October 31:
September 9: U.S. Congress returns to work.
September 10 – October 14: British Parliament is suspended a/k/a prorogated.
September 10: Apple unveils camera-focused iPhones, iPads & MacBook Pro.
September 11: 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
September 12: Trump goes to the “rat and rodent-infested mess” a/ka/ Baltimore for GOP retreat.
September 12. Ten candidates take the stage for the 3rd DNC presidential candidates debate in Houston, TX.
September 13: London Fashion Week Spring/Sumer 2020.
September 17: United Nations General Assembly, a/k/a UNGA (through September 30).
September 17: Federal Reserve expected to lower rates.
September 19: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrr.
September 22: Primetime Emmy Awards.
September 23: Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020.
September 27: IAAF World Athletics Championships begin in Doha (through October 6).
September 30: U.S. government runs out of funding. Leaders from both sides will probably agree to a short-term extension to buy more time to negotiate.
October 1: Deadline for 4th DNC presidential debate requirements.
October 3: NHL season and New York Comic Con kick-off.
October 11: Nobel Peace Prize winner announced.
October 15-16: DNC presidential candidates debate in Ohio.
October 17: British PM Johnson scheduled to go to Brussels for an EU summit.
October 17: 30th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco.
October 23: MLB World Series – and by the world, I mean US and Canada.
October 26: FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 (through November 17).
October 27: Diwali – the biggest and brightest holiday in India a/k/a festival of lights.
October 31: Brexit deadline, Halloween, and Mercury goes into retrograde – don’t say I didn’t warn you.