Here’s the latest from our president:
Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2018
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?