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Trade war uncertainty could take $1.25 trillion bite out of global economy, says Fed

With US GDP estimated at about $US20 trillion, and world GDP at about $US85 trillion, a 1 per cent impact would put the drag from trade uncertainty at about $US200 billion to US GDP, and $US850 billion to global GDP, according to Reuters calculations.

The estimates, the researchers said, are uncertain.


But they are notable in that they are among the first to quantify the large impact of President Donald Trump’s approach to trade deals, which he says put the US economy at a global disadvantage.

In an effort to win better trade terms, the Trump administration has jacked up tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports and imposed or threatened to impose duties on imports from other trading partners, including Mexico and the European Union. China and other countries in turn have threatened or imposed their own tariffs on US goods.

Trump has called on the Fed to slash US interest rates to support the economy and offset the effects of the trade war.

Fed policymakers for their part have said they will not let politics dictate interest-rate policy. But they have consistently called out the tariffs as detrimental to US growth. Fed Chair Jerome Powell last month cited trade policy uncertainty as an important reason for the global economic slowdown and weak US manufacturing.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Wednesday argued that increased trade tensions could slow US potential growth to 1.5 per cent a year, half what Trump said his administration would deliver.


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