IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned the U.S. against targeting the exchange-rate policies of any single nation, as the administration of President Donald Trump weighs whether to deliver on his promise to brand China a currency manipulator.
“You cannot just identify one particular country, because the whole system works together,” Lagarde said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday in Brussels, when asked about the possibility the U.S. may label China a manipulator. “When a currency goes up somewhere, it goes down somewhere else.”
She said currency assessments should be done in a “cohesive manner,” adding that the IMF plans to release a report on exchange rates in July. In 2015, the IMF declared the yuan as no longer ‘undervalued.”
Trump accused China during the election campaign of manipulating its currency to gain the upper hand in trade. But he didn’t follow through on his promise to label the country a
manipulator on his first day in office — a fact Lagarde noted in her interview with BTV, without mentioning the president by name.
Trump also didn’t mention the issue publicly during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit
to the U.S. this month.
The U.S. Treasury is expected to release its first currency report under Trump this month. The department is required by law to report to Congress twice a year on whether America’s major trading partners are gaming their currencies.
The last report, in October under the Obama administration, included China and five other nations on a watch list of countries at risk of engaging in unfair foreign-exchange practices, but it didn’t name any country a manipulator — a step the U.S. hasn’t taken since 1994.
A top outside adviser to Trump said Tuesday the U.S. probably won’t name China a currency manipulator in this month’s Treasury Department report.
“I would doubt that would happen,” Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of Blackstone Group, told Bloomberg TV in an interview. Schwarzman chairs the president’s strategy and policy forum, a panel of business leaders that includes JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Laurence Fink.