Oil prices were already under a bit of pressure on news that a Libyan General seized Libya’s largest oil field and weak economic projections out of Europe but fell out of bed after an interview with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on Varney & Company on the Fox Business Network. Stuart Varney asked Kudlow whether he had any news on a potential meeting between China’s Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump; the answer sent stocks falling and oil along with it. Kudlow told Varney that looking down the road that a meeting could take place and that the President was optimistic about a deal “but, but, but, but, but, but,” ( I think there were 6 buts) “We’ve got a pretty sizable distance to go here,” Kudlow went on “To quote a colleague of mine – ‘we have miles to go before we sleep.’” He shook up the market by saying they had pretty sizable distance before reaching an agreement. Kudlow also confirmed that U.S. beef was far superior to Chinese beef, which is good to know.

Stuart Varney, trying to find out how close they were to a deal, asked whether “they’re putting it down on paper?” Kudlow said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s next trip to Beijing still may not result in some of the agreement even being drafted. “When those two gentlemen, they are very experienced folks, when they get there, we’ll see. At the moment we have not had the papering of any of these discussions. So, as I say, they’re going to be probing and continuing conversations, and that the talks had a good vibe to them.”

So, the trade freaked out thinking that the optimism about a trade deal might be all for naught. There were also reports that President Trump said he did not plan to meet President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline for a deal when additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports are scheduled to be imposed on March 2. Yet if you really have followed this up and down story on U.S. China trade, this is par for the course. President Trump and Larry Kudlow are putting on the full-court press to keep pressure on the Chinese, so they come to some kind of deal. And it is not just the Trump Administration that is putting the pressure on but business leaders as well.

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Gary Anderson 3 months ago Contributor's comment

Phil, it is starting to look like your confidence in Trump is misplaced. But you are a diehard.