Push comes to shove in US-China trade battle

Beijing’s decision to let its currency weaken surprised the markets, and it is far from clear if Washington can muster an intelligent response

Selling on Wall Street accelerated last Monday as a steep drop in the Chinese renminbi took markets by surprise Picture: AFP/Getty

The People’s Bank of China last Monday allowed the Chinese renminbi to significantly weaken against the US dollar. Beijing also banned its state-owned enterprises from buying US agricultural produce.

The first decision was a direct response to Donald Trump’s surprise announcement of a 10 per cent tariff on Chinese goods, effective from next month. There had been a détente between the two countries after the G20 meeting in Japan in June, at which ...