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当地时间8月6日,美国前财政部长、哈佛大学前校长劳伦斯?萨默斯(Lawrence Summers)在《华盛顿邮报》撰文称,美国财政部长斯蒂芬·姆努钦(Steven Mnuchin)将中国列为“汇率操纵国”,明显是顺应其“老板”的政策,不仅损害了自己的信誉,更损害了美国财政部的公信力。





Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday named China a currency manipulator … and said he would ask the International Monetary Fund to intervene. 


Mnuchin made clear he was doing President Trump‘s bidding after the Chinese central bank allowed its currency to decline by more than 2 percent below the psychologically important level of seven yuan, or renminbi, to the dollar.



When a country intervenes in the foreign-exchange market to depress its currency so as to promote exports and discourage imports, something equivalent to imposing tariffs on imports and providing subsidies to exports is happening. This is especially of concern when, as in the case of countries previously deemed manipulators, a country is running a substantial trade surplus.



China does not come close to fitting this template. 


?  中国主动调整贸易顺差

Over the past eight years, it has reduced its trade surplus from more than 8 percent of GDP to essentially zero in response to U.S. pressure. Its interventions in currency markets over the past several years have been to prop up its currency rather than to drive it down. 

?  近期人民币汇率下跌并非人为

And the move down in the yuan on Monday was not artificial — it was an entirely natural market response to newly imposed U.S. tariffs. 


Without some mercantile advantage, and with ongoing efforts to prop up the exchange rate and so raise export prices and reduce import prices, there is no credible manipulation claim here.



By labeling as Chinese currency manipulation an exchange-rate move that was obviously a natural response to his boss‘s policies, the secretary has damaged his credibility and that of his office. It will be harder now in the next difficult financial moment for Treasury Department pronouncements to be credited by market participants. 



Having seen the United States label China a manipulator, the world will wonder whether and how the United States will get China to change its exchange-rate policies. If Chinese policies do not change, we will have only demonstrated our impotence to China and the world. Why is that desirable?


Further, the president‘s flailing bluster, in which the treasury secretary is now a full participant, risks real economic damage as businesses and consumers become fearful and hold off on spending. 


There is a growing concern that exchange-market developments will be an excuse for yet more tariffs against China, or for the United States to start buying up Chinese currency. Markets in recent days have reacted in ways suggesting high alarm, with investors flooding into safe-haven assets such as bonds, gold and even bitcoin and flooding out of riskier assets such as stocks and loans to businesses. The risk of recession going forward might now be as high as any time since the 2008 financial crisis.


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