China currency wars FX yuan

Here’s How Far The Yuan Will Have To Fall To Offset Trump’s ‘All-In’ Tariff Scenario

Potentially, there's a long way to go yet.

Potentially, there's a long way to go yet.
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6 comments on “Here’s How Far The Yuan Will Have To Fall To Offset Trump’s ‘All-In’ Tariff Scenario

  1. Walter- what will be the impact in China’s economy @ 7.34 yuan to the dollar? I would like to hear about that.

  2. Bad news for Japan and Europe (esp Germany), as neither is likely in a position to aggressively devalue JPY or EUR (not least because neither wants to invite US sanctions).

  3. I too am curious about the negative effects to China of a weaker CNY.

    Off the top of my head, I’d think the CNY/USD change will be pretty manageable for China. China’s $120 BN top goods imports from US are (from a US govt website): aircraft ($18 billion), machinery ($14 billion), electrical machinery ($13 billion), optical and medical instruments ($9.8 billion), and vehicles ($9.4 billion), agricultural products ($9.3 billion).

    These will become more expensive for Chinese buyers. But aircraft buys are probably disrupted by 737 Max problem, BA will cut prices if need be, and there’s always Airbus. Higher machinery and instruments will hurt Chinese companies but some are probably easing back on capex just like US companies, and there must be alternatives from Germany, Japan, etc. Ag buys are supposedly interrupted anyway. Chinese govt can use targeted tax and tariff relief, social payments to soften these impacts and anyway Xi is Leader for Life, no 2020 election for him.

    China’s $59 BN services imports from the US are led by software, trademark (media), travel and transport. The latter two categories are slumping anyway, with fewer Chinese traveling to US for tourism or study. I imagine Chinese govt wouldn’t mind US media losing share to the increasingly mature Chinese entertainment industry.

    (In contrast, US imports $540 BN of goods and $18 BN of services from China, a far larger sum.)

    However, I don’t have any good sense of is how much this will increase China’s import bill from the rest of the world. China imports about $2 TR, which is (from some random website source):
    Electrical machinery, equipment: US$521.5 billion (24.4% of total imports)
    Mineral fuels including oil: $347.8 billion (16.3%)
    Machinery including computers: $202.3 billion (9.5%)
    Ores, slag, ash: $135.9 billion (6.4%)
    Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $102.5 billion (4.8%)
    Vehicles: $81.5 billion (3.8%)
    Plastics, plastic articles: $74.9 billion (3.5%)
    Organic chemicals: $67.4 billion (3.2%)
    Gems, precious metals: $62 billion (2.9%)
    Copper: $47.6 billion (2.2%)

    All the commodities (oil, ore, etc) are declining in price anyway, so even if bought in USD the bill will probably go down. But the machinery and equipment and other manufactured stuff is a huge bill (like $1 TR) so if that effectively costs 20% more in CNY, I’d think it will be hard to absorb that blow without big pain. So, cross rates like CNY/EUR etc will be critical.

    I don’t know enough about trade flows and FX – is it possible that USD will go up against CNY without CNY going down as much against JPY EUR GBP etc? Or can China play with tariffs to ease the blow to its own importing companies?

  4. Thanks, Walt!

  5. Is this just theory, or is it possible? I know in the past Heis has said that at some point past 7, China has risks to capital flight. They seem to control things pretty tight, within a tenth of a point. But I have no sense as to how close we are to that breaking point. Maybe they’re just control freaks and holding the line even though they could devalue much further? And holding just over 7 is a message to the US, as well as their own people, that their economy won’t wreck if that level is breached? I see historically that’s it has been as high as 8.73.

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