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UPDATE 2-Swiss cenbank to press ahead with FX interventions despite U.S. manipulation tag

(Adds government comment)

ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank rejected accusations of currency manipulation by the United States on Wednesday, saying the label would not deter it from acting aggressively on forex markets.

The U.S. Treasury had earlier said Switzerland and Vietnam were currency manipulators that had intervened in foreign exchange markets to devalue their currencies against the dollar and prevent effective balance of payments adjustments.

“The SNB’s monetary policy approach remains unchanged by the report,” the Swiss central bank said in a statement. “In light of the economic situation and the fact that the Swiss franc is still highly valued, the SNB remains willing to intervene more strongly in the foreign exchange market.”

It added that its interventions were not intended to gain unfair trading advantage for Swiss exporters or massage balance of payments figures. “Foreign exchange market interventions are necessary in Switzerland’s monetary policy to ensure appropriate monetary conditions and therefore price stability,” the SNB said.

The SNB has stepped up interventions this year, spending 90 billion Swiss francs ($101.72 billion) in the first half to rein in the franc, but the central bank has argued this is to prevent the “highly valued” currency from triggering deflation.

Officials from the Swiss government and the SNB are in contact with U.S. counterparts to explain the situation, the SNB added.

The central bank is due to give its latest monetary policy update on Thursday, where it is expected to reiterate its commitment to negative interest rates and currency market interventions.

The Swiss government noted the report, adding that Switzerland did not manipulate the Swiss franc or seek to gain any unfair advantage for its economy.

A spokeswoman for the State Secretariat for International Finance said the country was open to bilateral talks with Washington on the matter.

“Switzerland is confident that the U.S. Treasury will carefully analyse the country’s situation, taking due account of the specific characteristics of Switzerland and the Swiss economy,” she said.

$1 = 0.8848 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields and Catherine Evans

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