Bargain Banks

The widening tariff wars are a double whammy for banks. First, falling interest rates are squeezing the gap between what banks charge borrowers and what they pay depositors, known as net interest margin, which necessarily discourages lending. Moreover, as firms and households get nervous, they borrow less and that reduces loan demand. Not surprisingly, bank shares fell 10% in May as trade tensions with China and Mexico skyrocketed.

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