Donald Trump Has No Idea What China Is Doing

Here’s the latest from our president:

Hmmm. Here’s what his Treasury Secretary had to say about China a few days before:

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….More recently, since the beginning of 2018, the renminbi (RMB) has continued to strengthen against the dollar, up 3.7 percent as of end-March.

….China does not publish its foreign exchange market intervention, but Treasury estimates that Chinese authorities significantly curtailed intervention in the second half of 2017 that they had been undertaking to support the value of the RMB. Foreign exchange reserves sold in the second half of the year are estimated at $6 billion, a significant decline compared to estimated sales of close to $250 billion during the second half of 2016.

Here it is in chart form. First, the exchange rate:

And market interventions to prop up the renminbi:

In other words, according to Trump’s own Treasury Department, the value of China’s currency has increased and the level of intervention has been nearly zero during Trump’s entire term in office. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps this doesn’t really matter. Still, WTF? Does Mnuchin even talk to his boss about this stuff?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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