Tariff wars: What do Walmart and Target prices have to do with the housing market?

When a top executive at Walmart told Wall Street analysts and journalists on a conference call last week that tariffs on Chinese goods would lead to higher prices for his customers, people who follow the housing and mortgage industries felt a sense of foreboding. Higher consumer prices lead to higher inflation, which leads to higher mortgage rates that put a chill on home sales. “Increased tariffs will lead to increased prices, we believe, for our customers." Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs on a call after the world’s largest retailer reported earnings for the first quarter of 2019. Since then, executives at Target, Home Depot, Kohl's, and Macy's have made similar statements.

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