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Mnuchin warns China against currency devaluations

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned China against engaging in competitive devaluations of the renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China, amid an ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.

“As we look at trade issues, there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations,” Mnuchin said in an interview with The Financial Times published on Wednesday.

His remarks come ahead of meetings of the Group of 20 nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Bali, Indonesia.

The value of onshore renminbi has gone down by 10.9 percent from its strongest point this year in late March to Rmb 6.9213 per dollar.

Meanwhile, investors and analysts have expressed worry that the currency is approaching Rmb 7 against the greenback, a significant psychological mark that would be its weakest level since 2008.

“The renminbi has depreciated significantly during the year. There are various factors for that which we look forward to discussing with them,” said Mnuchin. “One of those factors has to do with their own economic issues and what has gone on in the Chinese economy.”

The currency has been badly affected by the China-US trade war, the slow Chinese economic growth and the broader emerging market sell-off aggravated by the strengthening dollar.

Chinese officials had planned to meet late last month in Washington in a bid to resolve the bitter trade dispute between the two nations, but Beijing called off the meeting after Trump imposed punishing tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Nonetheless, US officials maintain they are open to talk.

“We’ve made our view clear to the Chinese. If they are ready to have meaningful discussions about correcting the trade imbalances and the structural issues that we have in the relationship, we’re willing to talk with them,” another official told reporters in Washington this week ahead of Mnuchin’s trip.

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