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Donald Trump plays Quite the Game of Tariff Cat and Mouse with Apple



Whether you love or hate Donald Trump (and there seem to be very few people who don't feel one way or the other), he is certainly not unattractive. Whether he devises politics and new words on the run, threatens to level the whole nation or drunken twitting at 2am, the man is a constant stream of news. One such cuff article was the announcement of a new round of customs duties on goods manufactured in China which will come into force on September 1

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Apple was fresh off a solid showing during their third-quarter earnings call, and their stock looked like it was on the rise again. Then the president came nowhere to turn his rally into another stomach punch. It's not the first time his incorrect Trump tariff news has hit the Apple rally, either.

Their shares were down as much as 6% since Trump announced the last customs round on August 1. Bad news travels very fast when it comes to one of the biggest companies in the word, but they certainly weren't alone. Most of the technology sectors have struck thanks to Trump's trade war.

Just when you think you've found out about this guy, he proves he's still too crazy for it. After dumping cold water on the stock market without warning two weeks ago, we now have a bit of a license. The tariff rates for many of the technology categories in the list of items in this round will be delayed until December 15. This is crucial for the US Christmas shopping season, as it allows stores to fill in the items people will buy holiday gifts before customs take effect. Trump even admitted that the Christmas shopping season played a role in this move:

"We have delayed it, so it won't be relevant to the Christmas shopping season …"

Well, at least Apple and others got that much consideration from the president. When it comes to Apple, he is more likely to tweet that "Tim Apple" should turn on a penny and bring iPhone production to the United States. Right.

Unfortunately, not all Apple products include it in the tariff release list. In fact, both Apple Watch and AirPods, two likely big-time sellers, will be hit with a 10% tariff starting in a small over two weeks. Hopefully, Apple does not pass the extra cost to consumers, but at least these are two of the company's low-cost products if they do.

The real good news for Apple is that their stock has strengthened since yesterday's announcement of the duty deferral. However, I remember when Trump delayed a previous round of customs a few months ago, when negotiations with China looked like they were finally going somewhere. Analysts and technology journalists relaxed, believing that a resolution was imminent, only to be blind again again when an agreement did not arise and the tariffs ended in effect, anyway.

With this in mind, although this delay may be good news for Apple right now, there is no way to know how things will turn out. Not with Donald Trump pulling the strings. I didn't want to read anything more than it is on the surface.




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