Afternoon Coffee: Trade Associations Petition to Halt Tariff Plans, Spain’s Amazon Workers Call for Strike

Forty-five trade associations are petitioning President Trump to halt plans to levy tariffs on China, the Wall Street Journal reports. Imposing heavy tariffs, said a letter by the trade groups, “would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the U.S. economy, provoking retaliation; stifling U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports; and raising costs for businesses and consumers.” While it is likely too late to prevent the tariffs from being enacted, the groups are hoping to at least slow down or influence the final decision.

Amazon Strike

More than 1,000 Amazon workers in Spain are calling for a two-day walkout over wage disputes and what they see as efforts to reduce employees’ rights, Reuters reports. The strike, which would affect Amazon’s San Fernando logistic warehouse on the outskirts of Madrid, would take place March 21 and 22. Similar strikes occurred in Italy and Germany over Black Friday in 2017.

Consumer Sentiment 

U.S. consumers reported their highest levels of optimism about the economy since 2004, according to Bloomberg. Consumer sentiment jumped unexpectedly in March, to 102 from 99.7 in February. Respondents in the bottom third of household income, in particular, drove the increase, posting a 15.7-point gain in the index.

Industrial Output 

And finally, a manufacturing update: U.S. industrial production jumped 1.1% in February, the largest increase in four months, CNBC reports. Manufacturing output also rose, by 1.2%, the biggest gain since October.

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