Firms rushing to ship goods from China
The race is on to get Chinese goods into the U.S. before President Donald Trump’s tariffs bite. At sea and in the sky, the U.S. president’s trade war with China has ignited a freight frenzy. Hyundai Merchant Marine Co.’s vessels leaving China for the U.S. are full, deliveries to California ports are surging, and cargo rates for journeys across the Pacific are at a four-year high. The levies that kick in Monday have amplified the busy pre-holiday season as Chinese manufacturers rush everything from toys to bikes to car parts into American stores before tariffs hit. Starting Monday, a 10 percent duty applies to $200 billion of Chinese imports — Trump’s biggest salvo yet in a trade war between the world’s largest economies that now directly hits U.S. consumers. After that, the tariff leaps to 25 percent by the end of the year.
Mortgage rates continue to trend higher
Mortgage rates moved higher for the fourth week in a row and show no signs of abating. According to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.65 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 4.6 percent a week ago and 3.83 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed-rate average is just shy of the five-year high of 4.66 set in May. The 15-year fixed-rate average grew to 4.11 percent with an average 0.5 point. “Mortgage rates shot upward this week … a surge that many analysts regard as overdue,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Rates have appeared resilient to recent weak housing data, but recent housing market indicators have been weaker than anticipated and another round of soft housing data could signal a broader slowing in that critical sector of the American economy.”
Nissan recalls vehicles over fire hazard
Nissan recalled nearly 240,000 cars and SUVs worldwide due to a fire risk and is advising people to park the vehicles outdoors in rare cases. An anti-lock brake pump can leak brake fluid onto a circuit board, causing an electrical short and increasing the fire risk, according to the company. If drivers see the anti-lock brake warning lamp for more than 10 seconds after starting the engine, Nissan urges them not to drive the vehicles and park them outdoors and away from structures or other vehicles. The recall covers certain 2015 to 2017 Nissan Murano, 2016 and 2017 Nissan Maxima, 2017 through 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and 2017 Infiniti QX60 vehicles.