Global markets took a jolt after US President Donald Trump warned there was no deadline for doing a trade deal with China.
Trump, in Britain for a Nato summit, warned that efforts to resolve the trade dispute could wait until after next November's US presidential election. "I have no deadline," Trump said. "In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal."
The announcement added to trade uncertainty already stoked by the United States reimposing tariffs on Argentina and Brazil, threatening France with steep levies - and warning China of possible new measures if ongoing talks fall through.
The yuan fell in response, as did share prices in Asia, Europe and the US. The Dow Jones was down 280 points to 27,502. The S&P 500 lost 0.7 percent to 3,093, while the Nasdaq fell 0.6 percent to 8,520.
Trump's trade war with China and on-again off-again attempts to reach a deal have destabilised markets and stoked geopolitical tensions.
"The chances of a deal by December 15 just took another turn lower," said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson. "After weeks of making generally positive noises on a deal being very close, there is a real sense now that a deal is not so very near at all and markets need to reprice."
Only last week Trump boasted that he was in the "final throes" of negotiating "one of the most important deals in trade ever".
But Washington has since courted Chinese anger by expressing support for Hong Kong protesters.
Optimism that Beijing and Washington will eventually hammer out a partial agreement as part of a wider deal had supported equities for weeks, helping Wall Street to record highs. (AFP, AP)