Trade hawks quietly bristle as Trump's China deadline approaches

Trade hawks quietly bristle as Trump's China deadline approaches

Trade hawks quietly bristle as Trump's China deadline approaches

Trump said previously he would meet Xi in February.

As the March 1st deadline for ending a trade standoff between the USA and China looms, negotiations between the two countries are taking a serious turn even as top USA negotiators head to China next week to usher in the next phase of the negotiation process.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, Trump confirmed that no meetings between him and Xi were planned before the March 1 deadline for a deal.

South Korean and Australian markets closed down while Hong Kong's Hang Seng also finished 0.2% lower. Still, he declined to say whether he expected negotiators to strike a deal before the end of the month, when Trump has said he will raise tariffs from 10% to 25% on US$200 billion in Chinese goods.

"The worries surround the uncertainties of a resolution to the likelihood of further tariffs in this on-again, off-again confidence with regards to a deal", Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary. Stocks fell in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand but rose in Malaysia. Hopes faded away that the two countries are moving forward to a deal before new tariffs on Chinese imports are added after the truce deadline. Another person close to the talks said Trump appeared determined to turn a pile of crumbs offered by China into what at best might turn out to be a slice of bread. He added that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaves on Monday for the next round of talks in China hoping for more success.

In other news, Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony announced its first 100 billion yen (USD911.2 million) share buyback for 2.36 per cent of its Tokyo-listed stock. Although no further details were revealed by the president in regard to such issues, it is expected that on the table will be the most recent militarization of the South China Sea by China, something that the United States perceives as a major threat to global security. Twitter plunged nearly 10 percent after issuing a weak forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.9 percent lower at 25,169.53 and the Nasdaq composite slid 1.2 percent to 7,288.35. Futures for the S&P 500 index shed 0.3 percent to 2,696.10. Reuters reports the news has "prompted a sharp selloff in us stocks". Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, retreated 11 cents to $61.52 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 109.76 yen from 109.82 yen late Thursday.

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