IMF says dollar over-valued, Chinese yuan in line with fundamentals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that the U.S. dollar is over-valued, China’s yuan is in line with fundamentals and nearly half of global current account balances are now excessive, adding to growth risks and trade tensions.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo at its headquarters in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The IMF, in its annual External Sector Report, which assesses exchange rates and current account surpluses and deficits, also said current account surpluses and deficits are becoming increasingly concentrated in advanced economies.

The report was based on data and IMF staff projections as of June 22.

However, China’s yuan has dropped significantly in recent weeks as trade tensions with the United States have intensified.

China’s yuan hit a fresh 13-month low on Tuesday of 6.8295 to the dollar as authorities in Beijing signaled further monetary loosening to support the economy amid an escalating tariff war with the United States.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Reuters exclusively on Friday that he was concerned about the yuan’s fall and the Treasury is “going to very carefully review whether they have manipulated the currency.”.

The IMF said its staff estimated China’s current account surplus grew slightly last year to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product and listed China among countries with excessive balances. Other excessive surplus countries cited by the IMF included Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, Sweden and Singapore.

Countries that it cited as having excessive current account deficits -- those that borrow too much -- included the United States, Britain, Turkey and Argentina.

The report said IMF staff assessed the U.S. dollar again to be over-valued compared to levels implied by medium-term fundamentals, by about 8 percent to 16 percent last year.

U.S. President Donald Trump has broken with protocol in recent days and complained that Federal Reserve interest rate hikes were causing the dollar’s value to rise and to erode the U.S. “competitive edge” in exports.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama