Not long after the Chinese delegation landed in Washington for the latest round of talks, one of Beijing's favorite English-language mouthpieces appears to have confirmed that the odds of striking a trade deal before Friday are "zero" - sending stock futures to their lows of the session.
Today, I asked one from Chinese side who knows the trade talks well, how many possibilities there still are to reach a deal before Friday. His answer is: 0. If it is that bad, the real suspense is whether the two sides will continue negotiations after Friday.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 9, 2019
Before the delegation left the airport, Hu tweeted a challenge to the US: Think long and hard about what you want to accomplish this week.
The Chinese delegation is at the airport and will take off soon. Some ask why bother to go to the US for talks given what had happened?This is also a question for the US side, why still bother to invite the Chinese delegation? I want to emphasize 'invitation'.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 9, 2019
Though this doesn't mean a deal won't be struck in the coming weeks, though Hu's comments about the 'real question' being whether negotiations will continue after Friday appears to have rattled the market, which had presumably assumed that they would.
To put this move in context, the selloff on the renewed trade tensions has cemented the pattern of this week, which has been one dead-cat bounce after another.
So, how long before Trump poses for reporters with Liu He (who has been stripped of his 'special envoy' status for this week's talks, giving him less authority to strike a deal without first reporting back to Beijing), assuring investors that a deal will happen and pushing stocks back into the green?