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ZURICH, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Switzerland is not steering the Swiss franc for competitive gain, the country's government said on Tuesday after the United States added it to a watchlist of currency manipulators.
"It should be stressed that Switzerland does not in any way engage in manipulation of its currency to prevent adjustments to the balance of payments or gain unjustified competitive advantage," the Swiss finance ministry said in a statement.
Switzerland's inclusion in the U.S. Treasury's list, alongside countries including Germany, South Korea and Japan, would have no immediate consequences, the statement added.
The Swiss franc leapt to its strongest level since April 2017 after Switzerland was added on the semi-annual list which the U.S. says is intended to dismantle unfair barriers to trade.
"Since mid-2019, Switzerlands foreign exchange purchases have increased markedly as the Swiss franc has appreciated against both the dollar and the euro," the U.S. Treasury said in the report which covered the year to June 2019.
The United States also encouraged the Swiss authorities to publish all intervention data more frequently.
The Swiss National Bank has bought massive amounts of foreign currencies in recent years to dampen demand for the Swiss franc, whose safe-haven status attracts investors during times of uncertainty.
The central bank has also imposed the world's lowest interest rates to deter investors from buying the franc, a policy facing increasing domestic opposition after being held in place for the past five years.
The SNB, which declined to comment on Tuesday, has always stressed that its policy objective has been to ensure price stability in Switzerland while taking due account of economic developments. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)