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Trump says Russia, China playing ‘currency devaluation game’

US President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, April 16, 2018. — Reuters pic
US President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, April 16, 2018. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 16 — US President Donald Trump accused Russia and China today of devaluing their currencies while the United States raises interest rates.

“Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the US keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!” Trump said in a Twitter post.

Trump’s tweet referred to what he sees as unfair trading advantages: if a country’s currency is artificially low, its exports are more competitive. Higher US interest rates would generally increase the value of the dollar, making US exports more expensive.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, the dollar has weakened substantially against most currencies, including the Chinese yuan and, until the US imposed sanctions on Russia in the last few weeks, the rouble.

Against the yuan, the dollar has fallen by 8.6 per cent since Jan. 20, 2017, while it has appreciated 4.5 per cent against the rouble. Until the US announced sanctions on Russian oligarchs earlier this month, however, the dollar had weakened by nearly 4 per cent against the Russian currency. That gain was entirely erased by a two-day drop of 8.4 per cent in the rouble on April 9 and 10.

More widely, the US dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of major trading partner currencies, has declined by 11.2 per cent since Trump became president.

The US Treasury, in a semi-annual report on Friday, again refrained from naming any major trading partners as currency manipulators. The report came as the Trump administration pursues potential tariffs, negotiations and other restrictions to try to cut a massive trade deficit with China.

The report did not mention Trump’s recent threats to impose billions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese goods over Beijing’s intellectual property practices, or pending Treasury restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States. — Reuters

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