updated 12/27/2004 8:42:13 AM ET 2004-12-27T13:42:13

China on Monday emphasized its determination to keep its currency stable despite ongoing pressure from the United States.

"We should keep the (yuan) basically stable, at a reasonable and balanced level," the People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, said in a statement posted on its Web site after its fourth-quarter monetary policy meeting.

The stance is further evidence that China is unlikely in the near future to revalue its currency, which has been fixed at about 8.28 to the dollar since 1994.

The United States has been pushing for China to raise the value of the yuan, saying the current rate is artificially low and gives Chinese imports an unfair advantage.

While Chinese leaders have said they plan eventually to let the yuan trade freely on world markets, no timetable has been announced. They say taking such a step immediately could hurt the country's poorly developed banks and financial industries.

The central bank also said it would keep pushing for interest rate reform as part of a monetary policy to cool with the country's sizzling economy.

In October, China hiked interest rates for one-year loans by 0.27 points to 5.58 percent _ the first increase in more than nine years.

The adjustment came as China continues its struggle to curb investment growth that has pushed economic growth to an annual rate of more than 9 percent and inflation at seven-year highs.

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