French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday that G7 countries had asked China to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan, and said markets were beginning to hear the U.S. message on the strong dollar.
"The countries of the G7 have, together, asked the Chinese to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan," she told France Inter radio. "It's a first step towards a better balance between the currencies," she said.
On the euro, Lagarde noted that U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had repeated his belief in a strong dollar policy, and said the U.S. currency had risen slightly against the euro on Monday.
"I am glad that the markets are starting to hear that and I hope that they will continue to do so," Lagarde said.
The French minister said the dollar-euro rate should not be looked at in isolation and that major currencies should be looked at in terms of their relation to each other: "One has to look at the yuan, the yen, the dollar, the euro," she said.
Lagarde said the euro's rise against the dollar had helped protect France from the recent surge in oil prices, adding that inflation remained under control in France.
"We are well served by the strong euro on the one hand, and have to look for productivity gains on the other," she added.
Oil prices hit a record high of $90.07 a barrel on Friday, a surge that Lagarde said was due to fears Turkey could attack Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq. The country has the world's third-largest oil reserves.