Stock market volatility picked up last week with a further hike for U.S. tariffs on Chinese products. The Trump administration accused China of reneging on several areas previously negotiated, and tensions escalated further between the two countries. The current understanding is that imports already in transit would be exempt from the new higher tariff rates and that only goods shipped after the May 10 deadline would be subject to new higher rates.
Equity selling spilled over into commodities as crude oil continued its slow decline from highs made in April. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude sank to $61.50 per barrel after trading above $66.00 per barrel last month. A global economic slowdown could accompany a protracted U.S.-China trade war, a danger that contributed to the recent bearish energy sentiment.