US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin answers journalists’ questions outside the White House on September 9 2019. Picture: AFP/NICHOLAS KAMM
US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin answers journalists’ questions outside the White House on September 9 2019. Picture: AFP/NICHOLAS KAMM

Washington — US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin says America's economy is unscathed after more than a year of entrenched trade conflict with China and Europe.

The remarks brushed aside concerns prompted by recent economic data showing slower employment growth, falling business investment and a weakening manufacturing sector, which have intensified recession warnings.

“I don’t see in any way a recession,” Mnuchin told Fox Business.

“There’s no question there’s been a considerable slowdown in the world economy both in China and in Europe, but as you look at the US, we continued to be the bright spot. We have not seen any impact on the US economy,” he said.

High-level trade negotiations are due to take place in Washington in October after a summer of acrimony and deteriorating US-China trade relations.

Months of negotiations have so far failed to achieve a bargain after talks verged on collapse in May, prompting observers to speculate the trade conflict may drag on far longer than expected with the two sides unable to reconcile their differences.

But on Monday Mnuchin held out hope for progress. “They’re coming here. I take that as a sign of good faith that they want to negotiate,” he said.

American industry and agriculture leaders have denounced President Donald Trump’s trade wars but so far failed to block its steady escalation, with US duty rates on hundreds of billions in Chinese goods set to rise in stages through the end of the year.

Official job creation numbers released on Friday showed employers across major industries slowed the pace of hiring, which economists took as another sign the world’s largest economy is cooling.

AFP