Below the shifting landscape that debates the notion as to whether tariffs are a negotiating ploy or the real deal, some pig farmers are now operating at a loss of thousands of dollars per week (futures markets have priced in tariffs) and soybean growers are considering whether to reduce their plantings to avoid the same fate. Meanwhile the impact on our NAFTA partners is also being considered across the borders. Canada can increase their soybean and pork sales to China but the net impact will still be negative to them considering the magnitude of trade volumes. Mexico is expanding ties to China in an effort to mitigate the ‘Trump’ effect. All the while, the administration has to be aware that China holds the ultimate ‘trump’ card in the debt held. Some bearish views posit US interest rates could rise to 14% if China ceases their bond purchases.
With these headlines staring at us, it would be excusable to have missed some of the underlying news – one being in healthcare. Two of my companies made the news this past week with possible or rumored deals; Shire (SHPG) and Humana (HUM). Takeda’s interest in Shire has all the appearances of industry consolidation, Wal-Mart and Humana’s discussions are more along the lines of being one of the last gorillas.