US Treasury Department labels China a currency manipulator

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A man walks past a money exchange shop decorated with different banknotes at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. (AP photo)

A man walks past a money exchange shop decorated with different banknotes at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department labeled China a currency manipulator Monday after Beijing pushed down the value of its yuan in a dramatic escalation of the trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies.

The decision, which came hours after President Donald Trump accused China of unfairly devaluing its currency, marks a reversal for Treasury: In May, it had declined to sanction China for manipulating its currency.

The U.S. has not put China on the currency blacklist since 1994.

The designation could pave the way for more U.S. sanctions against China.

Earlier Monday, China had allowed its currency to weaken to an 11-year low, a move that gives its exporters a price edge in world markets and eases some of the damage from U.S. tariffs on Chinese products.