Apr 12, 2017

Donald Trump gets everything about China's currency wrong

Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that he no longer plans to label China a currency manipulator―another of the actions that during the campaign he vowed to do on his first day in office. Trump says he doesn't need to because Beijing has allowed its currency to rise since his election. The only problem is that the numbers belie Trump's claims.

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Data: Money.net; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What Trump gets wrong:

  • China's currency had been flat relative the the dollar since Inauguration Day;
  • Most economists believe that the renminbi hasn't been undervalued since roughly 2011;
  • And even though the renminbi has been weakening relative to the dollar since China's 2014 economic downturn, that is more a feature of the dollar itself, not any renminbi weakness. When comparing the renminbi to a basket of other currencies, the Chinese currency's weakening is much less severe.

Go deeper

Treasury Department drops China's currency manipulator designation

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images.

The Treasury Department announced Monday that China will no longer be designated as a currency manipulator, just two days before President Trump and Vice Premier Liu He are set to sign "phase one" of a long-awaited trade deal, CNBC reports.

Why it matters, per Axios' Felix Salmon: China never fit the textbook definition of being a currency manipulator. The decision to apply the label was a political one — as was the decision to remove it.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020

The China challenge stumps the 2020 candidates

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Scott Eisen/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images, and Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Most U.S. presidential candidates identify China as a serious national security challenge, but they're short on details as to how they'd tackle the economic, technological and human rights threats posed by the world’s largest authoritarian power.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is seeking to reshape the world in its own image and amass enough power to marginalize the United States and Western allies regardless of whether China is contending with President Trump for another four years — or one of his Democratic rivals.

We're entering a new golden age of China journalism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of investigative journalists and news organizations around the world are investing more resources in covering China from afar.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party claims China's rise offers the world an alternative to western leadership and values. In the coming decade, journalism is vital to understanding exactly what kind of global leader China will be.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020 - World