US treasury delays China currency report

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 9:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 9:15am

The U.S. Treasury on Friday said it will delay a semi-annual currency report until November, a move that will likely draw fresh criticism from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney who has accused the Obama administration of being soft on China’s currency policies.

The politically sensitive report, which examines the foreign exchange practices of major U.S. trading partners, has repeatedly singled out China for not allowing its currency to appreciate more rapidly.

But the Obama administration and the previous Bush administration have stopped short of labeling China a currency manipulator - something Romney has vowed to do on his first day in office, should he win the presidency in November.

The yuan has appreciated 30 per cent since July 2005 and China argues that its currency is no longer tightly controlled.

The Treasury Department said it was delaying the report in order to “assess progress” following the group of 20 finance ministers meeting on November 4-5 in Mexico City. That means the report, which is often delayed, is all but assured to come out after the U.S. presidential election on November 6.

Romney campaign has said the administration should not delay the report, which is required by law to be released on Oct. 15 and April 15.

Lawmakers and manufacturers have long complained that China keeps the yuan artificially low in order to give its companies a price advantage in international trade.