Afternoon Coffee: A Trade War Looms, French Transport Clogged by Strikes

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Tit-for-tat tariff measures imposed by the U.S. and China edged closer to full-blown trade war Wednesday as the latter country threatened duties on 106 more U.S. products, the Washington Post reports. Both sides have shown no indication they are willing to back down in the dispute, and the World Trade Organization has little recourse to prevent the situation from escalating further.

‘Black Tuesday’

Transportation and utility strikes paralyzed France Tuesday as workers and students protested President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to overhaul the public sector, the Wall Street Journal reports. To make matters worse, the nationwide protest dubbed “Black Tuesday” is far from the only action planned. Over the next three months, rail strikes are slated to affect two out of every five working days, according to the WSJ.

Trucking Prices 

In the world of U.S. transportation, trucks are still moving — but at a higher cost to businesses. As Bloomberg reports, a trucking shortage that has pushed up freight costs “for everything from cereal to toothbrushes” is about to get worse with the enforced use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in trucks. The new ELDs will prevent drivers from driving more than 11 hours a day without fudging their numbers.

U.K. Manufacturing 

And finally, an economic update from across the pond: Manufacturing in the U.K. cooled to a one-year low at the quarter’s end, Reuters reports, due in large part to weaker consumer demand caused by higher inflation after June 2016’s Brexit vote knocked sterling lower.

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