US President Barack Obama said Thursday that China’s movement towards a more market-based currency system “would make an essential contribution to that global rebalancing effort,” Dow Jones Newswires reported. Obama said Chinese exchange-rate reform was in line with the G20 goal of boosting consumption and domestic demand in countries that have external surpluses, such as China, and encouraging saving and exports in countries with external deficits, like the US. With the Treasury Department’s semiannual report in which it could declare China a currency manipulator only a month away, the Obama administration is under pressure to take action against what is perceived to be an artificially undervalued renminbi. The currency’s gradual appreciation against the US dollar was halted in mid-2008, although China’s central bank said over the weekend that this is just a temporary crisis measure. Separately, the Commerce Department announced preliminary antidumping duties on imports of Chinese potassium phosphate salts, which are used in industrial cleaning products, fertilizers and food additives.
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