Talk of currency wars "overblown," IMF spokesman says

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:19am EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said talk about currency wars was overdone, playing down concerns that easy monetary policies in advanced economies had sparked dangerous devaluations.

"I think you're referring to the recent moves in exchange rates, and the so-called talk of currency wars, which we feel is overblown," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters on Thursday, in response to a question about whether the Fund was concerned about recent exchange rate movements.

"Our multilateral assessment does not indicate very significant deviations from the fair value for the relevant currencies," he said.

Rice's comments echoed those of IMF chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, who said recently the Fund saw no problems with countries' actions to get their economies back to health.

The Group of Seven rich nations released a statement earlier this week designed to cool international currency tensions, a topic likely to dominate a Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers in Moscow this weekend.

Japan's new government has pressed for an aggressive expansion of monetary policy to kickstart the economy and end two decades of deflation, causing some concern about a sharply weaker yen.

The G7 nations said fiscal and monetary policies must be directed at domestic economies and not at targeting exchange rates.

Rice said the IMF was ready to facilitate a cooperative approach on exchange rates among its members.

"Obviously there are (currency) developments to watch, with an eye on a cooperative approach," Rice said. "The IMF will play its part."

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by James Dalgleish and Bernadette Baum)

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