U.S.-China talks could lead to currency deal or collapse quickly, conflicting reports say



Mike Murphy | MarketWatch

Depending on what story is read, the U.S. and China are either on the cusp of a significant agreement or on the verge of having talks collapse.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday night that the White House may implement a previously-agreed-upon currency deal with China ahead of schedule, and suspend tariff hikes scheduled to take effect next week. Those moves would be part of a first-phase agreement with China, Bloomberg said, with negotiations on critical issues such as intellectual-property rights and forced technology transfers coming later in phase two.

Separately, the New York Times reported Wednesday night that President Donald Trump had green-lighted issuing licences to some U.S. companies to conduct business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies. The U.S. blacklisted Huawei earlier this year, and allowing sales of non-sensitive products could help defuse trade tensions.

The news comes ahead of the first face-to-face, high-level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China since July. China’s Vice Premier Liu He will meet with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday in Washington.

The Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper South China Morning Post reported late Wednesday that talks this week to lay the groundwork for the high-level negotiations had made no headway on critical issues, and that the main negotiation session had been cut from two days to just one day, with the Chinese delegation now scheduled to leave Washington after their conclusion Thursday. China reportedly refused to consider changes to forced transfers of technology, a main concern of the U.S.

Down as much as 322 points, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -0.12%   more recently were off a modest 16.

On Wednesday, the Dow industrials DJIA, +0.70%  rose 182 points.


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