Futures are reeling again, after hours, on news the US Treasury says China is a currency manipulator. As I type (6:40 PM central), the S&P 500 is down another 46 points.
That’s 1.7% on top of a 3% decline on Monday.
In my way of thinking, China is a currency manipulator along with Japan, the ECB, and of course the US.
To me, QE, interest rate cuts, and direct intervention all strive to do the same thing: lower currency valuations.
However, I am not the official designator of the term.
China Not a Currency Manipulator
Officially, Trump is a Liar
Even though I believe China is guilty, so is the US. That’s merely my opinion.
More importantly, by official definition, Trump is a liar.
Where To Next?
Just One Problem
Three Currency Manipulation Rules
The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. Designates China as Currency Manipulator
The decision to label China as a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994 comes just four months after the U.S. Treasury passed on an opportunity to make such a formal designation as part of its semiannual currency report.
Treasury uses three criteria to apply the designation: actively intervening in their currency markets, having large trade surpluses with the U.S., and having large overall current-account surpluses.
- Significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States
- Material current account surplus
- Country engaged in persistent one-sided intervention in the foreign exchange market
Test Three Fails
China fails test number two outright. It fails test three on a percentage basis.
China has a huge trade surplus with the US but China does not have a “material current-account surplus”.
Heck, China may not have any currenty account surplus.
Morgan Stanley says China’s “current account shortfall could be 0.3 percent of its GDP, and slip further to 0.6 percent in 2020.”
The US Treasury has to understand this whether or not Trump gives a damn.
Flashback May 29, 2019
Please recall my May 29 post US Treasury Concludes “No Currency Manipulators”, Watch List Expands to 9
The Treasury has three requirements for identifying currency manipulators. Seven countries meet two criteria. No country met all three criteria. Only Singapore met condition 3, but it did not meet condition 1.
Question of the Day
How soon will Trump propose modifying the rules so he can claim China is a currency manipulator?
Question of the Day Answered
My question of the on May 29 has now been answered.
Trump does not give a damn about rules, he simply instructed the Treasury to break them.
Trump has totally lost it.
Destructive anger has set in.
Recession Coming Up
At this juncture, it’s too late to stop.
Trump will blame the Fed and the Fed will blame Trump.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock