U.S. stock futures started falling when President Trump suggested he was fine with potentially delaying a trade deal with China until after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The U.S. and China face a Dec. 15 deadline for new tariffs to go into effect, without an agreement.
In London, the president said the U.S. is "doing very well right now" because he provided $28 billion in subsidies to U.S. farmers impacted by lost trade to China. And he said a Chinese trade deal "is dependent on one thing: Do I want to make it?"
Trump said: "I have no deadline, no ... In some ways, I think it's better to wait till after the election. You want to know the truth? I think in some ways it's better to wait till after the election with China, but I'm not going to say that. I just think that. I just tell you. In some ways, I like the idea of waiting till after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we'll see whether or not the deal is going to be right. It's gotta be right."
Michael Hewson, chief analyst for CMC Markets In London, said Trump's comments are spiking economic anxieties because "investors have been assuming, somewhat naively perhaps, that the new 15th December tariffs might well get waived, or delayed."
On Tuesday, NATO ally France threatened retaliation over the Trump administration also announcing $2.4 billion in potential tariffs on French goods from champagne to porcelain.
Meanwhile, more trade uncertainty is resulting from President Trump's declaration that the U.S. will reimpose steel and aluminum tariffs on Brazil and Argentina. Economist Phil Levy wrote in Forbes Monday: "The effect is more symbolic than economic. It portends new fronts on the trade war."