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Fed States Tariffs Risk “Significant Negative Effects” on Economy, Price of Gold Holds Steady

Policymakers who attended the July Federal Reserve meeting reportedly cited the trade war as a major, ongoing threat to economic progress, as well as the general slowdown seen worldwide. The rate cut introduced in late July was aimed as insurance against these recessionary pressures.

Key Takeaways

  • The minutes from the latest July FOMC meeting reveal that central bank officials view the ongoing trade war as a very real threat against the US economy, which is otherwise viewed as healthy.
  • Officials states that tariffs and the global slowdown “could have significant negative effects on the U.S. economy.”

Federal Reserve members cited the trade war several times throughout the central bank meeting in July. Trade was identified as one of the main economic headwinds faced by the US, according to meeting minutes released on Wednesday afternoon.

Slow business investment as a result of the trade war points to the “possibility of a more substantial slowing in economic growth than the staff projected,” according to the minutes, which also state that the headwinds associated with the trade conflict have no end in sight in the near future.

“Participants generally judged that the risks associated with trade uncertainty would remain a persistent headwind for the outlook, with a number of participants reporting that their business contacts were making decisions based on their view that uncertainties around trade were not likely to dissipate anytime soon,” the minutes said.

The trade war was one of three factors which led the central bank to introduce the first interest rate cuts in over a decade, with tame inflation pressure and a global slowdown accounting for the other factors. Policymakers anticipated  “uncertainty surrounding trade policy and concerns about global growth continuing to weigh on business confidence and firms’ capital expenditure plans.”

Beyond that, the Fed views economic growth as healthy, with “largely positive” economic data being derived from recent reports in multiple industries, although manufacturing and agriculture were identified as two areas struggling under current conditions.

Market Reaction

Gold prices have seen little reaction following the release of the July FOMC minutes. After facing some selling pressure earlier in the day, spot gold remains above the $1,500/oz mark and last traded at $1,503.44/oz, up 0.08% on the day with a high of $1,506.93/oz and a low of $1,502.24.