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Trump Suddenly Says “Our Problem Is Not China” — China “What Happened?”
2019年8月16日
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a news conference following FOMC in Washington, July, 2019(Photo provided by:アフロ)

 On August 7, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. economy’s problem lay not with China but with the FRB, and demanded further rate cuts from the FRB. Shocked people in China are saying “What happened?” The cause of the sudden designation of China as a currency manipulator has been revealed.

 

*President Trump tweets “Our problem is not China”

 Since midnight on August 8, Chinese websites have been flooded with reports under the heading “What happened to Trump?”

 In particular, Reference News, which reports information inside the Communist Party of China, reported news under the headline “What happened? Trump suddenly says ‘Our problem is not China.’” I wondered what was going on, and found by reading the article that something terrible had happened.

 On August 7 local time (August 8 Japan time), President Trump tweeted that the problem with U.S. economic development lay with the FRB, which functions as the U.S. central bank, and by no means with China (FRB:  Federal Reserve Board).

 In addition, based on information posted on the Russian Satellite Communications Company’s website on August 8, Reference News reported:

-Trump said that efforts should be intensified to accelerate the Fed rates and stop that ridiculous quantitative tightening.

-According to Reuters, Trump said on August 7 that the FRB must cut rates faster to make the U.S. competitive against other countries.

-Trump has been asking the chairman and policy makers of the FRB for months to lower interest rates to help the U.S. economy.

-Recently, Trump suddenly imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports, which caused another problem for the FRB. That has forced the FRB to lower interest rates further.

 

 Following President Trump’s verbal intervention in the FRB, I learned that the Wall Street Journal carried an opinion entitled “America Needs an Independent Fed” in its OPINION column on August 5. The Fed stands for the Federal Reserve System, and the FRB is its decision-making body.

 American journalism is amazing. Without being concerned about the ruling party or the top leader of the country, they confidently write the truth. In other words, this article openly points out and criticizes the president for manipulating U.S. finance for personal reasons.

 

*What was happening then?

 Even if so, the article went to such an extent that probably there was something behind it.

 I thought it was strange, and after further investigation I finally found the key to it.

 Actually, the FRB announced on July 31 that it would cut the federal fund target rate by 0.25% to 2 to 2.25% per annum, although this fact had already been made public.

 In response, President Trump publicly complained that the rate cut was too small and tweeted about the FRB Chair Jerome Powell, saying “As usual, Powell let us down.”

 Meanwhile, please read Bloomberg’s article on August 8 entitled “Trump Keeps Accidentally Igniting Dollar With His Trade War.” This article clearly says “Trump has repeatedly nagged the Federal Reserve to cut borrowing costs while complaining that the dollar is too strong. Should the Fed cut rates further this year, the monetary easing may actually shore up the U.S. economy, supporting the greenback. That may only add to Trump’s frustration. Options traders this week boosted wagers on a weaker yuan [renminbi] versus the dollar.”

 In other words, if the president wanted a weak dollar, he should have wanted the renminbi and the euro to rise. In reality, however, he moved in the opposite direction, causing depreciation of the renminbi.

 Irritated at this, President Trump designated China as a currency manipulator—this would be a possible interpretation.

 Otherwise, it would be a rather unnatural thing to do.

 On June 29, he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Osaka Summit, where he made some surprising concessions. On July 31, U.S.–China trade talks in Shanghai were concluded in line with the agreement, and the White House had just announced “The meetings were constructive.” At the same time, President Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the talks and suddenly announced the 4th round of tariff sanctions against China. In addition, seeing the depreciation of the renminbi, Trump designated China as a currency manipulator.

 Now that we know that behind the scenes the FRB moved on July 31 and we have heard the story explained by Bloomberg, so we can infer the cause of President Trump’s continuous abruptness.

 I express my respect to the spirit of American journalism in seeking the truth.

(This paper was written on 9 August)

遠藤 誉
1941年中国生まれ。中国革命戦を経験し1953年に日本帰国。「中国問題グローバル研究所」所長。筑波大学名誉教授、理学博士。中国社会科学院社会学研究所客員研究員・教授、北京大学アジア・アフリカ研究所特約研究員、上海交通大学客員教授などを歴任。著書に『「中国製造2025」の衝撃 習近平はいま何を目論んでいるのか』、『毛沢東 日本軍と共謀した男』(中文版・韓国語版もあり)、『チャイナ・セブン <紅い皇帝>習近平』、『卡子(チャーズ) 中国建国の残火』(中文版・英文版もあり)、『チャイナ・ジャッジ 毛沢東になれなかった男』、『チャイナ・ナイン 中国を動かす9人の男たち』、『ネット大国中国 言論をめぐる攻防』、『中国動漫新人類 日本のアニメと漫画が中国を動かす』『中国がシリコンバレーとつながるとき』など多数。 // Born in 1941 in China. After surviving the Chinese Revolutionary War, she moved to Japan in 1953. Director of Chinese Issue Global Research Institute, Professor Emeritus, Doctor of Science at the University of Tsukuba. Member of the Japan Writers Association. She successively fulfilled the posts of guest researcher and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Her publications include “’Chugoku Seizo 2025’ no Shogeki, Shukinpei ha Ima Nani o Mokurondeirunoka (Impact of “Made in China 2025” What is Xi Jinping aiming at Now?), “Motakuto Nihongun to Kyoboshita Otoko (Mao Zedong: The Man Who Conspired with the Japanese Army),” “Chazu Chugoku Kenkoku no Zanka (Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun) (including Chinese and English versions),” “Net Taikoku Chugogu, Genron o Meguru Koubou (Net Superpower China: Battle over Speech),” “Chaina jajji — Motakuto ni narenakatta otoko (China Judge: The Man Who Couldn’t Become Mao Zedong),” “Chugoku Doman Shinjinrui: Nihon no Anime to Manga ga Chugoku o Ugokasu (The New Breed of Chinese “Dongman”: Japanese Cartoons and Comics Animate China),” “Chugogu ga Shirikonbare to Tsunagarutoki (When China Gets Connected with Silicon Valley),” and many other books.