China not manipulating Yuan, lacks transparency

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"Treasury is working actively across a broad range of areas to help ensure that trade expands in a balanced way that protects USA firms and workers against unfair foreign trade practices".

"We are in an environment where the yuan is trending lower but it's clear that the PBOC is ensuring that the market will remain orderly", said David Beale, Asia Pacific co-head of institutional client coverage at Deustche Bank Singapore.

Governments manipulate currency by keeping the exchange rates artificially low to make its goods and services cheaper on the world market.

China's premier warned of risks to the economy from an escalating tariff war with the United States.

European shares, though, largely shrugged off the disappointment in Asia. London's FTSE traded 0.1 per cent higher and Frankfurt's DAX and Paris's CAC both rose 0.3 per cent. A pan-European equity index rose 0.6 percent.

The dollar, however, was in fine fettle, hitting a one-week high after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting backed market expectations for borrowing costs to rise further.

President Donald Trump promised throughout the campaign to label China a currency manipulator once he got into office, but so far he has declined to do so.

The yuan, also known as the renminbi, or "people's money", has declined by nearly 10 percent against the dollar since April as China's economic growth cooled and USA and Chinese interest rates went in opposite directions.

At a time of simmering trade war tensions "people are perhaps taking chips off table and maybe going into cash and short-dated bonds", he said. The quarterly releases will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

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The minutes sent the USA dollar higher on Wednesday and it held its gains in Asian trade against its peers, while high-yielding and emerging market currencies were deep in the red.

However, some members highlighted the chances of further instability among emerging markets, which have been battered in recent months by a flight of capital to the USA and fuelling concerns of contagion that could throw the global economy off track.

The spectre of rising USA dollar yields, which along with global trade tensions were at the centre of last week's global equities rout, kept riskier appetite in check in Asia. The euro has lost just under 3 per cent of its value versus the dollar over the last three weeks.

Since the Treasury's last currency report was issued on April 13, the yuan has fallen by more than 9.0 percent against the U.S. dollar.

In a semi-annual currency report issued Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department did not list China as a currency manipulator.

However, the official USA position is that China is not manipulating its currency. That is the weakest level since a 1-1/2-year low of 6.9587 touched in August.

The pound continued to struggle after British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit speech to counterparts at a Brussels summit fell flat, with the two sides at an impasse over the fate of the Irish border.

Oil steadied on Thursday as support from ongoing tensions over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist offset a big drop overnight due to a jump in US crude stockpiles. Oil prices fell on Wednesday, with USA futures settling below $70 a barrel for the first time in a month, after US crude stockpiles rose 6.5 million barrels, nearly triple what analysts had forecast, while exports dropped.

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