The new United States administration will not hammer out a stance on the yuan before April despite its incoming treasury secretary calling Beijing a currency manipulator. A White House spokesman said the administration of President Barack Obama had not decided on its policy regarding the yuan's value and that the US would seek to forge comprehensive economic ties with China. Timothy Geithner, who was sworn in on Monday as the new US Treasury secretary, told senators on Thursday the new administration would press China to change its exchange rate policy. His comments were a clear move away from the stance of the Bush administration, setting the stage for a possible trade war with China. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Geithner was just restating what Mr Obama had said during the election campaign. 'I think it's safe to say this administration will determine in the spring what that means,' Mr Gibbs said on Monday. The US Treasury submits a semiannual report to the US Congress in April and December that is often closely watched for Washington's view on global currency policies. Reports during the Bush administration had said the yuan was relatively undervalued against the US dollar but stopped short of labelling China as a currency manipulator. Market watchers believe the yuan will remain stable or even depreciate despite the firm stance by the Obama administration. 'The potential influence on the yuan by foreign countries is statistically insignificant,' said Law Ka-chung, the chief economist and strategist at the Bank of Communications' Hong Kong branch. 'The Chinese government clearly needs to further devalue the currency in propping up the economy. Its biggest concern is whether this will trigger a sharp capital outflow, not the yuan stance by the US government.' Depreciation talk intensified after the yuan posted on December 1 its biggest one-day fall against the dollar since mainland authorities introduced a narrow trading band for the currency in July 2005. The yuan closed at 6.8519 per dollar in Shanghai yesterday, compared with 6.8465 on Friday, according to Bloomberg data. It has weakened 0.42 per cent since the start of this year, prompting concern the country might devalue the currency to save its export-driven economy. In the offshore non-deliverable forwards market, the one-year forward contract for the yuan was at 7.0785 against the dollar, reflecting market expectations the yuan could depreciate 3.3 per cent in 12 months. The Chinese government has never used so-called currency manipulation to gain benefits in its international trade, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday. 'Directing unsubstantiated criticism at China on the exchange rate issue will only help US protectionism and will not help towards a real solution to the issue,' it said.