Trump Plan To Devalue Dollar A Gift To China

(MENAFN- Asia Times) TOKYO - Donald Trump would make currency devaluation great again in a second term.

Surrogates for the former US President are telegraphing a strategy to weaken the dollar unilaterally to advantage exporters. As Politico reports, for example, Trumpworld is“actively debating” an Argentina-like pivot at the behest of advisors like Robert Lighthizer, Trump's former international trade representative.

Instead of“America first,” such a detour might do more to advantage China in the longer run.

If devaluation were a strategy for prosperity, Buenos Aires would be running a Group of Seven economy. Turkey and Zimbabwe would be booming. Indonesia would be giving China a run for its money as Asia's biggest economy.

The US trying this gambit would pour gasoline on inflationary pressures and risk the dollar's status as a global reserve currency. That such a maneuver might coincide with Trump plans for a 60% tax on all Chinese goods and 100% tariffs on certain auto imports would shake the Federal Reserve's monetary cosmology.

At the moment, of course, it's the dollar's relentless strength that's turning heads. Asian currencies are either at, or falling below, key trading levels.

The Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah and Malaysian ringgit all face downward pressure. In the West, authorities are paying attention to drops in the Israeli shekel, Polish zloty, South African rand and other monetary units.

Things will get much worse if Trump wins power again and devalues the dollar. Such a self-inflicted blunder would gift Xi Jinping one of his top-line goals in ways the Chinese leader could never have contemplated.

Since 2016, Team Xi has made steady and material progress toward supplanting the dollar as the linchpin of the global financial system.

That year, Beijing secured a spot in the International Monetary Fund's“special drawing-rights” program, putting the yuan into the globe's most exclusive currency club along with the dollar, euro, yen and pound.

In 2023, the yuan topped the yen as the currency with the fourth-largest share in international payments, according to financial messaging service SWIFT. It also overtook the dollar as China's most used cross-border monetary unit, a first.

China's yuan is gaining global traction. Photo: Facebook Screengrab

The strategy would get a major boost from Trump engineering a weaker dollar. That would greatly reduce trust in US Treasury securities, a cornerstone holding for central banks around the globe while boosting America's borrowing costs.

Deliberate dollar devaluation would also imperil Washington's current ability to defy financial gravity. Thanks to the dollar's reserve currency status, the US enjoys any number of special benefits.

This“exorbitant privilege,” as 1960s French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d'Estaing famously called it, allows Washington to live far beyond its means.

All this explains why the dollar continues to rise even as Washington's national debt approaches US$35 trillion.
The dollar is up 9.6% so far this year versus the yen and nearly 4% versus the euro.


Asia Times

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