Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Trump Tries to Calm Global Markets After Stocks Drop Sharply

DEVELOPING: US-China trade uncertainty fuels market plunge Stocks plunge amid confusion over U.S.-China trade truce
Pablo Mccormick | 06 December, 2018, 16:31

"Three months' worth in fact", Rudd said, "which is good when measured against the alternative, which was a full-blown trade and broader economic war between the two countries starting next month".

A dramatic China pivot on trade would coincide with intense negotiations to meet the basic terms of a 90-day truce between Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump, which has failed to settle financial market jitters amid uncertainty about the details.

But concerns linger over discrepancies in information coming from either side. The statement did not mention Trump or Xi, however the state news agency Xinhua later said the ministry statement was hailing their meeting.

Beijing's commerce ministry said negotiators would "actively push forward negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and roadmap".

While Asian and European equities dropped Wednesday in the wake of the biggest slide in stocks on Wall Street since the mid-October downdraft, United States futures advanced after the statement from China echoed Trump's optimism over bilateral trade talks.

Trump, speaking to reporters on Air Force One after the plane departed Argentina, said his agreement with Xi, will go down "as one of the largest deals ever made. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man", Mr Trump said on Twitter.

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The president added: "When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so".

In return, Washington said China would purchase "very substantial" amounts of USA agricultural, energy, industrial and other products.

The US President sowed more confusion as he opened the door to lengthier negotiations with China, suggesting that they could extend beyond a 90-day deadline to reach an agreement to avoid a massive tariff increase.

China's Foreign Ministry, the only government department that holds a daily briefing foreign media can attend, has repeatedly referred questions on details to the Commerce Ministry, which has yet to say anything.

Mr Trump said this week on Twitter that Beijing had agreed to "reduce and remove" tariffs the 40% tariffs it places on United States cars.

"It doesn't seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump's tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality", said an investor note issued by JPMorgan.

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In a series of tweets on December 4, he recalled their "wonderful and very warm dinner" where the two discussed trade, and affirmed that both leaders "want this deal to happen".

"Ninety days is very little time to fix these perennial issues", said Bill Adams, senior economist at PNC.

And China has not confirmed that it made most of the concessions that the Trump administration has claimed. Fentanyl, mixed in with heroin, has caused a spike in drug overdoses in the U.S.

As a gesture of goodwill, Trump told Xi during their meeting he would hold off on raising tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that would have taken effect on January 1. But Mnuchin added, "If that's real" - thereby raising some doubt - it would close the United States trade deficit with China, and added: "We have to have a negotiated agreement and have this on paper". We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs.

So just days before the high-stakes meeting with Trump, Beijing made a small goodwill gesture to Tokyo by lifting its import ban on rice from the Japanese prefecture of Niigata, one of 10 areas covered by a sweeping food ban in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. "It will now be considered a 'controlled substance,"' Trump said in another tweet Wednesday, subsequently adding that China would see "incredible" results if it imposed the death penalty on "distributors and pushers". "China does not want Tariffs!"

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