Canada's Freeland, on weak yuan, says many reasons for currency fluctuations

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at a news conference following a meeting with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Moe Doiron

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday sidestepped a question on whether Ottawa would join Washington in accusing China of manipulating the yuan, saying there could be lots of reasons why currencies rise or fall.

Washington, engaged in a trade war with China, last week accused Beijing of deliberately allowing the yuan to weaken.

“At a time of volatility in the global economy and volatility in the trading space, there can be a lot of explanations for why currencies fall and rise,” Freeland told a televised news conference in Toronto when asked whether Canada would also label China a currency manipulator.

When a reporter suggested this comment meant Canada would not act, Freeland replied: “I answered your question choosing my words with care.”

Freeland said “people who are interested in an objective perspective” on the matter should note the International Monetary Fund last week stood by its assessment that the value of the yuan was largely in line with economic fundamentals.

Ottawa and Beijing are embroiled in a trade and diplomatic dispute over Canada’s arrest of a senior Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive on a U.S. warrant last year.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum