U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he is mulling over the possibility of sanctioning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would increase natural gas flows from Russia to Germany. Trump is not the first U.S. president to oppose the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is intended to run beneath the Baltic Sea because it would allow Russia to use its energy supplies as a weapon against its neighbors. Russia and Germany argue against these claims, asserting that the goal of the pipeline is purely financial and that it will have no bearing on political relationships.
Trump’s threats for sanctions against the pipeline extend to sanctioning vessels used to build the pipeline as a means to delay or stop construction. The threats are just one of Trump’s latest attempts to use sanctions, rather than negotiations, for his own political gains.
On Wednesday, Trump also refused to set a deadline for if and when he will implement his next round of sanctions against China as he’s been threatening to do for several weeks. “I have no deadline. My deadline is what’s up here. We’ll figure out the deadline,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying. Trump had previously hinted that he would make his decision about Chinese tariffs by the end of June after meeting with Chinese leaders at the G-20 summit.
The ongoing threat of tariffs once again sent global stock markets downward during Wednesday’s New York session, snapping a 6-day winning streak and spreading fear into Thursday’s Asian session as well.
Asian markets were broadly lower on Thursday afternoon, with the Hang Seng Index leading the losses, trading down 1.00 percent as of 1:41 p.m. HK/SIN. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.76 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.12 percent. Only the Shenzhen Composite bucked the trend, trading up a modest 0.09 percent in the early afternoon. All three benchmark indexes on Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday, with the NASDDAQ easing 0.38 percent, the S&P 500 down 0.20 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.17 percent lower for the day.