Trump downplays urgency for China deal as trade risks roar back

U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as France's President Emmanuel Macron talks during a meeting ahead of the NATO summit in Watford in London Britain

Bullion prices rose to their highest since Nov. 7 on Tuesday after Trump said a deal with China might have to wait until after the US presidential election in November 2020.

The House on Tuesday publicly released a new report accusing President Donald Trump of soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election.

"In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal".

Trump has tried to make the case that he supports both Xi and the Hong Kong protesters, expressing confidence that they could work out a deal.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Washington and Beijing are "moving closer" to agreeing on how much tariffs would be rolled back in an initial trade deal despite the Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues, citing people familiar with the talks.

While stocks overall dropped, shares of US steel companies rose, according to CBS News. "Trump's latest comments are a ploy to regain the upper hand in these negotiations".

The U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a bill requiring the Trump administration to toughen its response to China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang could deal another setback to the trade negotiations.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Tuesday that staff-level trade negotiations with China were continuing but no high-level trade talks had been scheduled.

To be sure, downplaying his desire for a deal and slow-walking a negotiating partner have been calling cards of Trump's trade strategy.

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Trump said a deal with China would only happen if he wanted it to, and he thought he was doing very well in the talks.

Global financial markets have gone into a tailspin amid mounting concern that the U.S. and China are not going to conclude an interim trade agreement before a new set of American tariffs hit Chinese goods on 15 December. USA markets were already off to a rocky December after Trump's Monday announcement - coupled with disappointing manufacturing and construction data - that he would reimpose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina.

Tucked between those pronouncements was a widely overlooked statement that the USTR was contemplating increasing the scope of tariffs levied against the European Union over illegal Airbus subsidies after a World Trade Organization ruling.

A Chinese official who declined to be identified warned that USA implementation of the new round of tariffs scheduled on December 15 will be countered by China with retaliatory tariffs - an outcome the official said would seriously disrupt ongoing negotiations.

Among the biggest risks to emerge was a possible trade conflict with Europe. The move appears to factor in Mr. Trump's threat to expand tariffs beyond imports from China.

On Tuesday, the European Union refrained from an immediate reaction to the French tariffs, saying in a statement that the 28-nation bloc "will act and react as one and it will remain united" while "coordinating closely with the French authorities with the next steps".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday the US will go ahead with its plan to add tariffs on Chinese products if nothing changes come mid-December.

In currency markets, the euro was flat against the dollar at 1.1081.

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