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Chinese Yuan Fell at 11 Years Low

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China allowed its yuan to fall below the politically sensitive level of seven to the US dollar for the first time in 11 years, prompting concern that Beijing might use devaluation as a weapon in a tariff war with Washington.

The central bank blamed the exchange rate’s decline on “trade protectionism.” That followed President Donald Trump’s threat last week of more tariff hikes on Chinese goods in a bruising fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies.

The currency weakened to 7.0391 to the dollar by late afternoon, making one yuan worth 14.2 cents, its lowest level since February 2008.

The weakness of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or “people’s money,” is among U.S. Grievances against Beijing. American officials complain it makes Chinese export prices unfairly low, hurting foreign competitors and swelling Beijing’s trade surplus.

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