Grind for August 18th, 2018
“The minute we stop learning, we begin death…We learn from each other with every action we perform. We are teaching goodness or evil every time we step out of the house and into the street.”
– Leo Buscaglia
Trump threatens to double metal tariffs on Turkey
President Trump on Friday said he would double the aluminum and steel tariffs on Turkey following Ankara’s refusal to release Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who was arrested in October 2016 for his alleged participation in a failed coup that took place in Turkey last summer.
“I have just authorized a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong dollar!” tweeted Trump. “Aluminum will now be 20% and steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
Earlier this week, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior for “serious human rights abuses” in connection with the detention of Pastor Brunson.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the increase in tariffs by claiming Turkey would “overcome this disaster” and “successfully overcome this economic war.”
The Turkish lira dropped 14% against the US dollar on Friday amid ongoing concerns about Turkey’s massive foreign debts. Ankara’s external debt to GDP is above 50% – one of the highest among developing nations.
According to the Commerce Department, Turkey ranks 6th as a supplier of steel to the US and 11th in aluminum.
Turkey boycotts US-made electronics
“We are going to enforce a boycott on US electronic goods,” announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.
The boycott follows Trump’s decision to increase the aluminum and steel tariffs on Turkey by 50% following Turkey’s repeated refusal to release a detained American pastor.
It is unclear how Erdogan plans to enforce the boycott.
“I don’t think people who have money will boycott US goods or stop buying iPhones,” said one shopper who was interviewed at an Apple store in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, souring relations between the US and Turkey have pushed the lira down 14% against the US dollar and exacerbated anxiety among investors.
“Turkey isn’t an average emerging market,” says Colin Croft, emerging-market fund manager at Jupiter Asset Management. Under President Erdogan, Turkey has “concentrated power in one person who has economic views which are extremely unorthodox.”
In addition to Erdogan’s erratic behavior, Turkey is also struggling with an external debt that is more than 50% of its GDP.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… It would take twenty new mid-size cars to generate the same amount of pollution that a mid-size 1960’s car did.