US’s Paulson committed to dollar as reserve currency

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (AFP)

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday defended the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency and said its recent decline was only a small factor behind a surge in oil prices.

"I have repeatedly stated that a strong dollar is in our nation's interest," Paulson said in prepared remarks to a business group in the United Arab Emirates.

"The US dollar has been the world's reserve currency since World War II and there is a good reason for that. The United States has the largest, most open economy in the world, and our capital markets are the deepest and most liquid."

Paulson pledged to deal with problems in the US economy that have hurt the dollar's value in recent months.

"I am committed to promoting policies that enhance the underlying competitiveness of the US economy and ensure that the dollar remains the world's reserve currency," he told the US-UAE Business Council.

"These include being a strong advocate for open investment and trade, and working to address the current challenges in our economy, including the housing correction and stress in our capital markets."

He said the dollar's value would ultimately reflect strong US long-term fundamentals and the Bush administration was responding "aggressively and comprehensively" to US economic challenges to minimise the impact globally.

"But we also take confidence from the fact that the performance of the US economy for the past five decades is unmatched and its long-term fundamentals compare favourably today to any advanced economy in the world," he said.