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China’s central bank set the value of the yuan at the currency’s lowest level against the US dollar in more than eight years on Friday. The “parity rate” for the yuan, also known as the “renminbi,” or people’s money, was set at 6.9168, its lowest level since June 2008. It was at 6.9184 by midday.
The U.S. dollar has surged against other currencies since Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 presidential election. By midday Friday the dollar was trading at 113.67 yen, its highest level in eight months against the Japanese currency.
Trump has threatened to seek to penalize China and Japan for manipulating their currencies to gain a foreign exchange advantage for their exporters.
China’s Foreign Exchange Trading System allows the yuan to rise or fall a maximum of 2 percent against its parity rate, which is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before trading starts each day.
Trump has adopted a more aggressive stance toward China on trade, threatening to use sanctions to win back a competitive trade advantage for the United States. Chinese officials have warned Beijing could challenge such moves at the World Trade Organization.
In trade talks in Washington earlier this week, Zhang Xiangchen, China’s deputy trade representative, disputed the idea that China keeps its currency artificially low. Many economists also agree that China no longer manipulates its currency.