China's September crude imports mark highest in four months

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The Chinese currency has been falling in value against the dollar in recent months, raising concerns that China is devaluing its currency as a way to make Chinese goods more competitive against US products.

When Mr Trump then extended those tariffs to a further $200 billion of goods in September, Beijing promptly hit back with tariffs on a further $60 billion of USA goods.

"It's obvious that the immediate effects of the trade war are the exact opposite of what the Trump administration had been planning", Andrew Polk of Beijing-based research firm Trivium China tells the Post.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said any trade talks between the US and China must include discussions about currency issues.

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USA laws mandating the report require the Treasury to enter special negotiations with an offending country to correct their practices, a process that could eventually lead to trade sanctions. That prompted Mr Trump to threaten to extend the tariffs to nearly all China's $500 billion of exports.

The yuan has lost almost 10 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year. The Chinese are looking at it. Preparations are being made.

Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping have agreed to meet next month at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, in hopes of resolving their intensifying trade conflict.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also accused Beijing last week of seeking to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections to be held next month.

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Trump said Thursday that his tariff strategy was working.

"They lived too well for too long", Trump said of the Chinese during his Fox News interview. President Trump has warned there's a lot more he could do to hurt China's economy.

Trump's strategy amounted to "bullying", said Yu Xiang, division of American economic studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Shipments into the country last month stood at 37.12 million tonnes, or 9.05 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 9.04 million bpd in August and marking their third straight monthly rise, according to numbers from the General Administration of Customs.

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Mnuchin's comments on China's currency come ahead of next week's scheduled release of a hotly anticipated Treasury report on currency manipulation, the first since a significant weakening of yuan began this spring as trade tensions between the world's two largest economies escalated.