U.S. Treasury officially designates China a key currency manipulator in the broader context of Sino-American trade dispute resolution.

Becky Berkman

2019-09-15 14:35:00 Sun ET

U.S. Treasury officially designates China a key currency manipulator in the broader context of Sino-American trade dispute resolution. The U.S. Treasury classification of China as a new currency manipulator suggests that this classification represents another escalation of the current Sino-U.S. trade conflict. The next currency battle may turn out to be relentless in the current game of competitive depreciation. This escalation spooks global financial markets and therefore wipes 3.5% from all major U.S. stock market indices such as S&P 500, Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and MSCI USA. French, German, and other European stock market indices decline by 2.5%-3%.

China allows its renminbi currency to tumble to the psychologically vital 7-yuan per U.S. dollar (or the lowest level in 11 years). This depreciation may give China an unfair competitive advantage against America in the current game of chicken in tech, trade, and currency. However, the recent renminbi currency misalignment may or may not help increase Chinese exports due to global interest rate surprises and competitive prices outside East Asia. Federal Reserve interest rate cuts may inadvertently give American politicians the vague impression that monetary policy can help repair the damage of trade policy mistakes. When push comes to shove, the law of inadvertent consequences counsel caution.

 


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