WASHINGTON, April 7 The United States warned
Beijing on Monday that the recent depreciation of the Chinese
currency could raise "serious concerns" if it signaled a policy
shift away from allowing market-determined exchange rates.
Washington has been pressing China for years to allow its
currency to trade at stronger values. A weak yuan makes Chinese
exports cheaper for U.S. consumers at the expense of U.S.
producers. A weaker yuan also makes Chinese consumers less able
to buy foreign goods.
Last month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomed a
decision by China to allow its currency to vary more against the
dollar in daily trading.
But Monday's comments by a senior official from the Treasury
Department suggested the United States is not completely sold on
China's intention to reduce authorities' interventions in
"If the recent currency weakness signals a change in China's
policy away from allowing adjustment and moving toward a
market-determined exchange rate, that would raise serious
concerns," the official, who asked not to be named, told
journalists in a phone call.
In comments that outlined U.S. positions ahead of meetings
later this week of the International Monetary Fund and between
Group of 20 nations, the official noted the widening of China's
currency trading band came just after a drop in the yuan's value
that coincided with reports of "considerable intervention" in
exchange markets by Chinese authorities. That is exactly the
sort of behavior Washington wants Beijing to ditch.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)