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China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Donald Trump to accuse China and Russia as their currency manipulators

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Donald Trump.
To Lower Drug Costs at Home, Trump Wants Higher Prices Abroad. (Wikimedia Commons)
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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday it is unacceptable that Russia and China are devaluating their currencies, days after the Treasury Department declined to label these countries as currency manipulators in its latest report.

Amid a possible new round of sanctions against Russia and a simmering trade war with China, Trump tweeted Monday morning, “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!

In general, when a country artificially devaluates its currency, its exports become cheaper and more competitive in the global marketplace.

The currencies of U.S, China and Russia.
FILE – The U.S. dollar, Indonesian rupiah and Chinese renminbi currencies are displayed in the poster of a money exchange shop in Jakarta, June 12, 2013. VOA

During his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly accused China of lowering the value of its currency and vowed to formally label China as a currency manipulator, but so far has failed to do so.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the administration is closely watching China’s currency practices. “That’s something that the Treasury Department is watching very closely and we’re continuing to monitor it,” she said Monday.

In a semiannual report titled “Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States” released last Friday, the Treasury Department did not designate China as a currency manipulator, but put it as one of the six countries on a monitoring list. The other five countries on the list are Japan, Korea, India, Germany, and Switzerland. Russia is not on the monitoring list. The Chinese currency, the renminbi, has appreciated over 3 percent against the dollar since the beginning of this year, after strengthening by over 6 percent in 2017.

Also Read: Trump: US ‘Being Stolen’ by Illegal Migrants

Brad Setser,a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Treasury Department official said in an interview with VOA he does not think it is an accurate complaint that Russia and China are playing the currency game.

“The Russian ruble was actually quite stable before the sanctions on Russia were intensified. It’s quite clear the volatility in the ruble is a function of the intensification of U.S. sanctions, a sign that the sanctions are biting,” he explained.

Setser said over the past several months, the Chinese yuan has actually appreciated, and China has not been intervening heavily.

“There are plenty of things to criticize China for on trade, but right now, there’s no real basis for criticizing China on currency,” he noted.

Russia's Central Bank Chief.
Russia’s Central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina presents the new 2,000 and 200 ruble banknotes in Moscow on Oct. 12, 2017. VOA

In the past three years, the Federal Reserve raised interest rate six times to a range between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent, and said they expect to raise the rate two or three more times this year.

Usually, when a country raises its interest rates, the value of its currency rises, making its exports more expensive and less competitive. However, higher U.S. interest rates have not raised the value of the dollar.

“The interesting puzzle that the market has been pondering for the past several months is that the dollar has actually weakened even as the U.S. has raised rates, and even as U.S. passed legislation to expand the fiscal deficit,” Setser said.

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Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Economic Analysis at the Treasury Department Setser stressed the United States should not label China as a currency manipulator at this moment.

“It would undermine the United States’ credibility to name China at a point in time when there is no plausible case that China is managing its exchange rate in a way that is adverse to the U.S. interest,” he said.  VOA

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Apple Launches a $300 Million Fund to Bring Clean Energy to China

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley"

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The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.
The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said. Pixabay

Amid heightened trade tensions between the US and China, tech giant Apple has joined hands with its suppliers to launch a $300 million clean energy fund in China.

The “China Clean Energy Fund” will invest in and develop clean-energy projects totalling more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China, the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes, Apple said in a statement on Thursday.

“At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

The Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant said 10 of its initial suppliers have come forward to jointly invest in the nearly $300 million fund over the next four years.

“We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet,” Jackson said.

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Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou. Pixabay

By virtue of its size and scale, the China Clean Energy Fund will give its participants the advantage of greater purchasing power and the ability to attain more attractive and diverse clean energy solutions.

The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.

Also Read: Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Faster Performance And New Features for Pros

The announcement to invest in the clean energy fund in China follows Apple’s announcement earlier in 2018 that its global facilities are powered by 100 per cent clean energy and the launch of its Supplier Clean Energy Programme in 2015.

Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou.

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as “China’s Silicon Valley”. (IANS)