As the Screw Turns

turning screw

They’re at it again today, manipulating the barbarians.

New York Times, China Signals It Will Continue to Weaken Its Currency as Trade War Rages:

China’s central bank on Thursday set the midpoint of the renminbi’s daily trading range above 7 to the American dollar for the first time in more than a decade. The move in effect tells financial markets that Beijing expects the renminbi to continue to weaken versus the dollar, perhaps well past the 7-to-the-dollar level.

That is likely to provoke more ire from the Trump administration. A weaker currency helps Chinese factories offset the higher costs of Mr. Trump’s tariffs when selling their goods to the United States. …

China’s action suggesting that it expects the currency to weaken further will put more focus on the central bank’s daily midpoint in the coming weeks to see whether China will weaken the currency — perhaps to 7.5 or 8 renminbi to the dollar — to the point at which it would significantly begin to weaken the impact of American tariffs.

Also, They Ain’t Buy-in’ No More American Farm Products

Nada. Rien. Bupkus.

CNBC gives us the happy news that China’s exit from US agriculture is a devastating blow to an already struggling sector. And the Wall Street Journal discloses, China Deals ‘Body Blow’ to Struggling U.S. Farm Belt.

Strategy? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Strategy

A pundit observes, “What’s most remarkable about the Wall Street Journal report is the picture it paints of the president. Trump has no ace up his sleeve. He has no plan at all. Trump is flying by the seat of his pants, preoccupied not with long-term strategy but with his own immediate political prospects and media play …”

But We Do Need Some New Pants, Cause the Old Ones be Stinkin’

No wonder, then, that WALL STREET FEARS TRUMP MAY BE TOO DUMB TO END TRADE WAR BEFORE 2020.

Every Hand’s a Winner, and Every Hand’s a Loser

Jonathan Chait:

Trump has no poker face, no chill. The closer the investigators get to incriminating evidence, the more intensely he rages. He resembles a suspect at a crime scene screaming at the police not to go into the attic. And now that attic is looking awfully interesting.

Heather Long, China is winning Trump’s trade war:

It was easy to miss the U.S.-China trade statement that the White House released Saturday, right in the midst of royal wedding mania. But it’s hard to hide that China looks as if it’s winning President Trump’s trade skirmish — so far.

David Sanger, Trump Grappling With Risks of Proceeding With North Korea Meeting:

Mr. Trump’s aides have grown concerned that the president — who has said that “everyone thinks” he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts — has signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much. The aides also worry that Mr. Kim, sensing the president’s eagerness, is prepared to offer assurances that will fade over time.

Moreover, Mr. Trump’s decision this month to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal raises the stakes for the North Korea negotiation. If he emerges with anything less than what President Barack Obama got, which in Iran included the verified shipment of 97 percent of all nuclear material out of the country, it will be hard for Mr. Trump to convince anyone other than his base that the negotiation was a success.

The aides are also concerned about what kind of grasp Mr. Trump has on the details of the North Korea program, and what he must insist upon as the key components of denuclearization. Mr. Moon and his aides reported that Mr. Kim seemed highly conversant with all elements of the program when the two men met …

But aides who have recently left the administration say Mr. Trump has resisted the kind of detailed briefings about enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs that Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush regularly sat through. …

[W]hen reporters asked Mr. Trump about Libya, he managed, in one stroke, to contradict Mr. Bolton and misconstrue the importance of the trade of the nuclear program for economic rewards. …