Geithner heads to China
The Treasury secretary is expected to discuss trade issues and ways to avoid branding China as a currency manipulator.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in Beijing on Thursday, after a two-day trip to India.
The meeting comes after Geithner decided over Easter weekend to delay a report on whether China is manipulating its currency. U.S. lawmakers have been pressuring Geithner to persuade China to devalue its currency, the yuan.
China is the second-largest U.S. trading partner, after Canada. The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2009 was $226.8 billion, down 15% from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
China halted a gradual increase in the yuan's value against the dollar in July 2008 in an effort to protect its exports in the midst of the financial meltdown.
Meanwhile, the National Development and Reform Commission hinted at the possibility of China allowing the yuan to appreciate again. Traders were speculating today that China may extend the band in which the yuan can move against the dollar from plus or minus 0.3% a day to plus or minus 0.5%.
The hint suggests that Chinese policymakers are weighing what may happen if they let the yuan resume its climb after keeping it yoked to the dollar since mid-2008.
On Wednesday, China’s central bank set the yuan’s midpoint at 6.8259 per dollar, the strongest for the yuan in 10 months.
Elizabeth Strott contributed to this report.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the midweek session on a mixed note. Blue chip listings bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%), while the Russell 2000 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.02%) underperformed.
Equity indices began the day in the red, but wasted no time regaining their flat lines. Small-cap stocks were not as fortunate as the Russell 2000 spent the day in the red.
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