Trump: ‘Russia And China’ Are Playing The US, Devaluing Currency

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

President Donald Trump pushed back against the Russian and Chinese governments Monday morning, calling them out for reportedly devaluing their currencies against the U.S. dollar.

“Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable,” the president tweeted Monday.

Trump has repeatedly hit China for manipulating their currency and it was one of his campaign rallying cries during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president once threatened China with a 45 percent tariff on imports of Chinese goods and notably levied 25 percent tariffs on roughly 1,300 Chinese goods, worth approximately $50 billion, in early April.

The administration, including the president, has largely shied away from publicly labeling the Chinese currency manipulators since the election. China is not a currency manipulator, Trump told The Wall Street Journal in April 2017, citing the dollar’s relative strength versus the currencies of its major trading partners.

The Treasury Department conducted a comprehensive analysis this month of the macroeconomic and foreign exchange policies of each of the major U.S. trading partners. Treasury officials did not find China guilty of devaluing its currency, in a Friday report.

“Based on analysis in this report, Treasury also concludes that not major trading partner of the United States met the standards … for currency manipulation in the second half of 2017,” the Treasury found.

The Treasury’s monitoring list includes China, Japan, Korea, Germany and Switzerland. The department is adding India to that list.

“Over 2017, the Chinese currency generally moved against the dollar in a direction that should, all else equal, help reduce China’s trade surplus with the United States; however, on a broad, trade-weighted basis, the renminbi (China’s currency) was broadly unchanged on net over 2017,” the Treasury found.

China has historically manipulated its currency for its own benefit. The nation kept the renminbi artificially lower from 2000 to 2014 to prop up its exporting economy. China was able to add some $4 trillion to its foreign reserves.

Russia has promised to crackdown on currency manipulation for years, but have been the reported victims of rogue Russian hackers who have artificially moved the ruble-dollar rate by double-digit percentages.

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