China allows its renminbi currency to slide below the psychologically important threshold of 7-yuan per U.S. dollar.

Charlene Vos

2019-09-13 10:37:00 Fri ET

China allows its renminbi currency to slide below the key psychologically important threshold of 7-yuan per U.S. dollar. A currency dispute between the U.S. and China has brought the trade conflict between the G2 superpowers to new extremes. U.S. Treasury designates China a currency manipulator soon after the Chinese central bank lets renminbi slide to the symbolically important level of 7-yuan per U.S. dollar for the first time in 11 years. This strategic move represents another escalation as the Sino-U.S. trade relations continue to deteriorate in the meantime.

On the one hand, this recent renminbi depreciation renders Chinese export prices more competitive and so can contribute to better trade-driven economic prospects. On the other hand, the renminbi depreciation inevitably exacerbates the monetary severity of 25% tariffs on $250 billion Chinese imports. This renminbi depreciation serves as a flexible countermeasure to the 10% Trump tariff on all the other $300 billion Chinese imports, and most U.S. stock market indices decline substantially 3%-5% in response to the bilateral tense trifecta of tech, trade, and currency. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicates that the Trump administration can engage with the IMF, WTO, and World Bank to deter unfair trade competition from China.

 


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