Treasury again skips labeling China a currency manipulator

Treasury again skips labeling China a currency manipulator

The dollar index, which measures its value against six major peers, last traded at 95.703, little changed on the day, after rising to a fresh one week-high earlier in the day. The currency has slid about 9% against the dollar in the last six months, making it one of the worst-performing Asian currencies this year and raising speculation that China has been deliberately weakening its currency as trade tensions with the USA worsen.

Some China experts have speculated that Beijing could use yuan devaluation as a weapon in a broader trade war with the United States.

In early European trade London fell 0.2 percent and Frankfurt shed 0.1 percent but Paris added 0.1 percent.

Taipei, Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok were also sharply down but Sydney rose 0.1 percent after data showed unemployment in Australia at its lowest in more than six years.

That reinforces expectations that US yields will rise further despite US President Donald Trump's view that the Fed was tightening too much.

On Thursday, the People's Bank of China weakened the fixing by 0.25%, and the RMB dropped as much as 0.3% to 6.9422 per U.S. dollar.

At a time of simmering trade war tensions, "people are perhaps taking chips off (the) table and maybe going into cash and short-dated bonds", he said. The quarterly releases will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

The greenback bounced on Thursday.

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While the Fed's policy outlook suggested the USA economy was humming along nicely, the spectre of rising dollar yields, which along with trade tensions were at the centre of last week's global equities rout, dented appetite for risk. The euro has lost just under 3 per cent of its value versus the dollar over the last three weeks.

To be labeled a currency manipulator, a trading partner must have a bilateral trade surplus with the U.S. of at least US$20 billion, a current account surplus of at least 3 percent of gross domestic product and "persistent, one-sided intervention" where net purchases of foreign currency are conducted repeatedly and total at least 2 percent of GDP over a year.

The Trump administration has again declined to label China a currency manipulator, but says it is keeping China and five other nations on a watch list.

"We want to make sure that we don't have gains on trade issues only to be offset on currency issues", Mnuchin said in an interview with CNN on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia. The yuan was steady at 6.9390 per dollar in the offshore trade, not far off 1-1/2-year low of 6.9587 touched in August.

Sterling did, however, turn positive on Thursday after May confirmed she was open to discussing an extension of the transition period after Brexit.

On oil markets both main contracts dipped after Wednesday's sharp losses that came on the back of data showing a jump in USA stockpiles, which overshadowed the brewing crisis in Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery was up 1 cent at $69.56 a barrel by 0840 GMT, after falling 3 percent in the previous session to settle below $70 for the first time in a month.

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