Japan Aso says won't fret of Trump's comment dollar 'too strong'


UPDATE 1-Japan Aso says won't fret of Trump's comment dollar 'too strong'

* Trump comments no big problem as Mnuchin clarified later -
    * Adds reconfirmed with Mnuchin FX for debate by finance
    * Japan happy with G20 sticking to FX commitment at Germany
    * Japan told G20 shouldn't be complacent despite global

 (Adds quotes, detail)
    By Leika KiharaWASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister
Taro Aso said he didn't see a problem with U.S. President Donald
Trump's recent comments about the dollar "getting too strong,"
as his Treasury secretary later clarified that the president was
not seeking to talk the currency down.
    Aso also said it was a "big achievement" for Japan that G20
finance leaders reconfirmed their commitment at last month's
meeting in Germany that excessive currency volatility was
undesirable, language Tokyo interprets as justifying stepping
into the market to counter abrupt yen spikes that hurt exports.
    Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and Trump agreed at a summit in
February that they would not directly discuss currency policy
and leave the subject to their finance ministers.
    But Trump's comments to the Wall Street Journal earlier this
month that the dollar was "getting too strong" appeared to
violate that agreement. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
played down the comment days later, saying Trump was "absolutely
not" trying to talk down the dollar's strength. [nL8N1HR1G5]
    "I don't see the comment as a problem as the U.S. Treasury
secretary later clarified Washington's stance," Aso told
reporters on Thursday, when asked about Trump's comment.
    Aso, however, said he reconfirmed in a bilateral meeting
with Mnuchin on Thursday that exchange-rate policy would be
dealt with among the two finance leaders.
    Currency issues were among topics Aso and Mnuchin discussed
at the bilateral talks, although they did not talk specifically
about recent dollar/yen levels, a senior Japanese finance
ministry official later told reporters.
    "The two reconfirmed the G7 and G20 agreements on currency
policy," the official said.
    Aso and Mnuchin met on the sidelines of the G20 finance
leaders' gathering and International Monetary Fund meetings in
Washington D.C.
    Aso said he told a G20 working dinner on Thursday that while
global economic prospects were brightening, uncertainty clouded
the outlook with financial market showing some volatility.
    "I told them we shouldn't be complacent and should continue
to pursue necessary policy steps even though the economy was
recovering," Aso said.
    Some G20 countries also discussed China's steel production
over-capacity and excessive debt build-up as a potential risk to
the global economy, Aso said.
    The IMF revised up its global growth estimates on
improvements in trade activity, though the optimism was tempered
by uncertainty over the Trump administration's trade policies.

 (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Sam
 ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com; +813-6441-1828; Reuters
Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: G20 IMF/ASO (UPDATE 1)

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets

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