FTSE latest: London share prices PLUMMET amid US-China trade war fears

06 December, 2018, 16:30 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are attempting to agree trade terms

Beijing tried to boost optimism over the world's two largest economies yesterday, after days of interventions from Mr Trump and his advisers.

The Ministry of Commerce statement described the meeting with the United States as "very successful" and said China is "confident" of implementing the results agreed upon at the talks, but didn't provide any further details on the outcome.

That gives the president 24 hours to fix the damage inflected when the market plunged nearly 800 points on Tuesday after a series of tweets from Trump suggested a trade war with China could resume next year.

As part of the truce, Mr Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise the tariffs on US$200 billion (S$273 billion) worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent beginning on Jan 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

"We are now taking in $billions in Tariffs".

At the G-20 dinner, Mr. Trump agreed to a 90-day delay on tariffs against China, and Mr. Xi agreed to major concessions to open its markets to American goods.

China and the United States announced a truce in their trade war after the meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday, but that quickly descended into confusion, with both sides announcing different statements on what was agreed.

It did not give further details but it crucially did not contradict the USA president's remarks that China would buy more goods from the United States to help close their trade gap and structural changes to intellectual property protection.

In a "supremely ironic" move, China may even seek to negotiate entry to the TPP-11, which was originally conceived by the Obama Administration as part of pivot to Asia, and which may end up including China but not the US itself, he said.

Stocks sank on Tuesday, as President Donald Trump threatened China with further tariffs, just days after the two countries agreed to a cease-fire in their escalating economic conflict.

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"Reaching an agreement within three months is a spur to not only China, but also the U.S. If the two sides fail to reach a deal, all the White House promises will be invalid", it said.

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. ALL subjects discussed!" Trump said on Twitter.

Instead, the two sides are to negotiate over United States complaints about China's trade practices, notably that it has used predatory tactics to try to achieve supremacy in technology.

But the USA leader kept up the threats as he warned that he was ready to make China "pay for the privilege" of selling in the USA market if the negotiations fail.

Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife, said the market's recent decline had likely contributed to Trump's willingness to reach a truce. Leaders of the European Unionhave signaled they would echo the response of China, saddling US -made vehicles with new tariffs in response. Ultimately, I believe, we will be making a deal - either now or into the future.

"Officials now face the hard task of fleshing out a deal that is acceptable to the Chinese but also involves significant enough concessions not to be torpedoed by the China hawks in the Trump administration", Capital Economics said in a note this week.

A Chinese official told Reuters officials were "waiting for the leaders to return" before publicising details. Instead of being hammered out by lower-level officials, he said Xi came very prepared for the conversation, and that the deal was mostly done by the two leaders.

Global financial markets tumbled on Tuesday as doubts over what could realistically be accomplished in the tight negotiating window added to concerns about fading global growth.

The tone of Trump's latest tweets show an apparent shift from 24 hours earlier, when he was unreservedly triumphant, saying relations with China had taken a "BIG leap forward".

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