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President Trump has taken to Twitter to tease a “big deal” with China which would see the close to two-year trade war finally start to wind down. Writing on Twitter, he said, “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!”

The trade war has weighed heavy on global economies and markets for much of this year. Several reports of accords have been reported, only to be scuppered at the last minute, leaving markets hesitant and giving gold the edge. However, the US president’s Tweet has this time been well received, leading gold prices to drop back yesterday (Thursday) – if you’re a regular reader you’ll know that this is the green light to buy now.

Previous confirmations from the White House have subsequently been shown to be premature, leading markets to falter and gold to surge. While the “BIG DEAL” sounds promising there’s actually more to it than meets the eye and there are hints that we could be seeing more of the same – which creates the perfect window to buy now and capitalise on the lower price.

A number of US publications published news reports confirming the deal had been done but it has only been agreed “in principle”. It is thought the deal means that the US would start to roll back some of the tariffs slapped on Chinese imports. This is significant given new tariffs equalling $160bn are scheduled to be enacted on Monday.

However, despite the US fanfare, China has steadfastly refused to comment which does cast some doubt on what in principle really means. The Guardian reported this morning (Friday 13 December), “Asked about the status of the trade talks during a daily briefing on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated that Beijing was committed to resolving outstanding issues but that a deal had to be mutually beneficial. She did not comment on whether the two sides had reached an agreement or the terms of any deal.”

The Guardian’s International Trade reporter, Lily Kuo writes that the silence does pose the question of whether a deal has actually been ratified. She also says that in fact, Chinese officials have been openly critical of the US, explaining, “Speaking at a symposium in Beijing, China’s minister of foreign affairs, Wang Yi, did not mention the negotiations.

Instead, he took the occasion to criticise the US for having “seriously damaged the hard-won mutual trust” between the two countries. Wang said the US had “slandered” China by criticising it over its policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

“We will never accept the so-called unilateral sanctions and any acts of bullying,” he said.”

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