Trump Talks Up Border Wall as Congress Eyes Sept. 30 Budget Deadline

U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing Congress to make appropriations for his proposed border wall with Mexico, placing more pressure on lawmakers ahead of the Sept. 30 budget deadline.

Trump Takes Aim at Congress Debt Ceiling Plans

President Trump has threatened to shut down the U.S. government in October unless Congress approves the initial funding needed to begin constructing a border wall with Mexico. The threat complicates an already contentious debate about passing a new spending measure and raising the debt ceiling – both of which are required by Sept. 30.

GOP leaders are still devising a plan to keep the government open after Sept. 30. The president is said to be requesting $1.6 billion for wall construction. Democrats are widely expected to reject such appropriations. In fact, it is unlikely to get the votes it needs to pass the Senate.

NAFTA Pull-Out?

Trump also spoke of the possible termination of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) mere days after policymakers concluded the first round of negotiations. The initial talks are said to have been positive, with all sides committing to an ambitious schedule for solidifying a new trade deal.

However, the president doesn’t think “we can make a deal” on NAFTA, signaling that its termination could be nigh. For all the debate it generates, NAFTA has quadrupled trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico over its 23-year history.

Wall Street Shutters

Trump’s rhetoric is pouring cold water on Wall Street’s latest rally effort. After posting its best single-day advance in four months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% on Wednesday to close at 21,812.09. Twenty-three of 30 blue-chip companies finished lower, with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and 3M Co (MMM) leading the decline.

The large-cap S&P 500 Index fell 0.4% to settle at 2,444.04. The CBOE VIX volatility gauge rose nearly 8% as a result.

European equities also declined Wednesday, with Germany’s DAX closing 0.5% lower. France’s CAC 40 Index closed down 0.3% and Spain’s IBEX 35 finished 0.7% lower.

Haven assets, such as gold and silver, saw steady demand. Gold bullion continues to trade below $1,300.00 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. and European stock futures traded mostly lower after-hours, pointing to a soft start to the Thursday session.

Jackson Hole Symposium Set to Begin

The Kansas City Fed’s annual policy gala is set to begin on Thursday, attracting central bankers and thought leaders from around the world. This year’s attendee list includes Fed Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. Attendees representing central banks from more than 40 countries will be present for the three-day event.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to deliver a speech Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi