US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday accused China of allowing the value of its currency to slide in a bid to offset the impact of Washington’s trade tariffs on the cost of its goods to American consumers.
“It’s not coincidental in my mind that the currency has moved from approximately 6.30 [yuan to the US dollar] to 6.90,” the official said on the sidelines of the G20 finance leaders’ meeting in Japan.
“Traditionally to manipulate a currency, official intervention in the foreign exchange market has to be conducted in a certain way. Intervening to support the currency’s exchange rate is not regarded as currency manipulation,” he said.
“However, when the market is expecting intervention because there have been interventions to support a currency for a very long time – whether by China or any other country – then when there is no intervention that could create a big market impact,” he said. “The decision not to intervene after intervening for a very long period of time may lead the market to view that there is a desire to have the currency to weaken.”