UPDATE: Trump, Xi Will Not Meet Before March 1 Trade Deadline; Wall Street Worried
The early news that the two leaders were not likely to meet spurred a sharp selloff in U.S. stocks, dashing the optimism that had been building that the countries were progressing towards a deal.
(Updated to include comments from President Trump)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal.
Asked by a reporter whether there would be a meeting before the deadline, Trump said: "No."
When asked whether there would be a meeting in the next month or so, Trump said: "Not yet. Maybe."
The countries had taken a 90-day hiatus in their trade war to hammer out a deal, and another round of talks is scheduled for next week in China.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Thursday that the leaders of the two economic superpowers could still meet later.
"At some point the two presidents will meet, that is what Mr. Trump has been saying. But that is off in the distance still at the moment," he said.
The news that the two leaders were now unlikely to meet spurred a sharp selloff in U.S. stocks, dashing the optimism that had been building that the countries were progressing towards a deal before tariffs on Chinese imports rise to 25 percent after the March 1 deadline.
The S&P 500 Index tumbled to its low of the day, down 1.6 percent in its biggest drop in more than a month.
Treasury bond yields dropped as investors sought safety in sovereign U.S. debt. The benchmark 10-year yield slid 4 basis points to 2.66 percent, the lowest in nearly a week.
"I could see where that would impact the markets because obviously we had a lift in the month of January from optimism surrounding these trade talks," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. "It does make sense the market is pulling back somewhat on that."