Afternoon Coffee: China Hits U.S. Goods with Tariffs, Hospitals Wary of Walmart-Humana Deal

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Sparks of a trade war flew over the weekend as China increased tariffs by up to 25% on 128 U.S. products, Reuters reports. The affected items include frozen pork, wine, and certain fruits and nuts.

Hospitals Fear Walmart

Walmart and Humana are in early-stage talks to forge a merger, and the potential tie up is starting to worry hospitals. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Walmart’s “purchasing heft, physical reach and focus on price” could make it an increasingly fierce competitor to traditional healthcare providers. Acquiring insurer Humana would put Walmart in direct competition with hospitals, providing similar health services without often higher prices.

China Manufacturing 

While trade tensions flare between China and the U.S., the former’s manufacturing activity continues to accelerate undaunted, according to the Agence France-Presse. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.5 in March compared with 50.3 in February and 51.3 in January, exceeding forecasts as factories increased production with the end of seasonal anti-pollution measures. 

Dollar Weakens 

And finally, a forex update. The U.S. dollar again declined against its main rivals Monday, MarketWatch reports, slipping 0.1% to 90.071. Concerns about a global trade war have weighed on the dollar for much of the year.

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