Trump roils markets with comments on China trade, Huawei

United States President Donald Trump - Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump on Friday said he was not ready to make a deal with China and even called a September round of trade talks into question, reviving concerns on financial markets that the bilateral dispute is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Trump also sowed confusion by saying that the United States would not do business with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, only to have a White House official later clarify that he was referring to a ban on U.S. government purchases of Huawei equipment, not requests for sales by U.S. companies, which are still being assessed.

"We're talking with China. We're not ready to make a deal - but we'll see what happens," Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for fundraisers on Long Island, New York.

"China wants to do something, but I'm not ready to do anything yet. Twenty-five years of abuse - I'm not ready so fast, so we'll see how that works out," he said.

Ties between the world's two largest economies have deteriorated dramatically since Trump announced on Aug. 1 that he would impose a 10% tariff on a final $300 billion worth of Chinese imports on Sept. 1, prompting China to halt purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

The United States also this week declared China a currency manipulator after it allowed the yuan to slip below 7 to the dollar.

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, capping a week of trading that saw big swings and high volume. All three indexes were down more than 1% in early trading and rebounded later in the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 90.75 points, or 0.34%, to 26,287.44, and the S&P 500 lost 19.44 points, or 0.66%, to 2,918.65.

"It has been a very volatile week," said Elwin de Groot, Rabobank's head of macro strategy. "Until recently, the markets' view was that this trade war will be resolved, but clearly now the thinking is that maybe this is not the case and it could be accelerating from here."

The International Monetary Fund on Friday said China's yuan valuation was largely in line with economic fundamentals, but an IMF official said the fund was encouraging China to pursue a more flexible exchange rate with less intervention.

Trump stood by his administration's currency accusation, saying that the fact that China was subsequently able to stem the yuan's slide was proof of manipulation and was offsetting U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. -Reuters