By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
President Donald Trump on Friday vowed retaliation against China after it imposed new tariffs on U.S. products, and slammed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell after his closely watched speech in Jackson Hole.
‘WHO IS OUR BIGGER ENEMY’
After China announced more import tariffs on U.S. goods early Friday, Trump said he would respond Friday afternoon. The president also asked “who is our bigger enemy,” Powell or Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Trump tweeted, “As usual, the Fed did NOTHING!” after Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Trump went on to say he had “ordered” American companies to begin looking for “an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
The president didn’t expand on what he meant by an order or an alternative. U.S. presidents don’t have the authority to order private companies to make their products in a given location.
U.S. stocks plunged in a volatile session on Friday amid the China news, Fed headlines, and Trump tweets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -4.06% ended down more than 600 points, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -3.37% dropped 75 points and the Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -3.79% fell nearly 240 points. In another tweet Trump made light of the Dow’s decline by blaming it on news that Rep. Seth Moulton had dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Trump has frequently pressed the Fed to aggressively cut interest rates, but Powell stopped short of promising any specific monetary-policy easing, saying instead the central bank was “carefully watching developments” in the economy and would “act as appropriate.”
UPS, FEDEX AND FENTANYL
Trump also called on companies including FedEx Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203047719/lastsale FDX -4.00% and United Parcel Service Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201245396/lastsale UPS -2.26% to refuse packages of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, from China. Those companies said in response that they already work with law enforcement to stop illegal shipments from entering the U.S. Trump said China hasn’t lived up to its promises to stem the flow of fentanyl exports.