A top mainland official yesterday stressed that Beijing would not devalue its currency this year. Vice-president Hu Jintao made the comments while on the last leg of a 13-day four-nation African tour. He said the crisis had forced some Asian countries to substantially devalue their currencies, putting pressure on the yuan and in particular affecting the mainland's exports. However, Mr Hu said Beijing had taken timely steps to cope with the economic crisis sweeping the region and had improved its economy by increasing investment in the infrastructure sector and boosting domestic demand. The mainland has been running a favourable balance of international payments, with a steady growth of its foreign-exchange reserves now exceeding US$140 billion, he said. 'So, we have the objective condition to keep the value of our currency,' Mr Hu said. He said a yuan devaluation would set off another round of competitive devaluations in Asia, worsening the crisis. 'China, as a responsible country, is ready to sacrifice its interests and will never shift troubles on to its neighbouring countries,' Mr Hu added.