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China says currency at reasonable level

BEIJING, Mar 7, – China\’s Commerce Minister said Monday the current yuan exchange rate was at a "reasonable range", amid calls for Beijing to let its currency appreciate rapidly.

"The current range is a completely reasonable range acknowledged by the international community," Chen Deming told reporters at a press briefing during the nation\’s annual parliamentary session.

"It is completely unreasonable to use the trade situation as a pretext to require the yuan to appreciate by large margins."

Critics claim the yuan is hugely undervalued, giving Chinese exporters an unfair trade advantage by making their goods artificially cheap.

But China\’s Premier Wen Jiabao recently countered this, saying a sharp rise in the yuan would be bad for the country, bankrupting businesses and leaving workers jobless.

Chen on Monday said the yuan would gradually appreciate over the long term. It rose to a record high against the US dollar late Monday, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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