Washington: A day after the US Senate passed legislation to punish China for its alleged currency manipulation, House leaders signalled they would block the bill to prevent a "trade war."

"Given the volatility in the world markets, given the uncertainty about the world economy, for the Congress of the
United States to be taking this step at this moment in time poses a very severe risk of a trade war," Republican House Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday.
   
His comments came as he faced mounting pressure to bring up the bill in the House of Representatives, where enough of his fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in backing the proposal that it would likely pass.

The bill, powered by a tide of US voter frustration at a sour economy and high unemployment ahead of November 2012 elections, envisions retaliatory duties on Chinese exports if the value of the yuan is unfairly "misaligned."

Beijing has denounced it as "a ticking time-bomb" that threatens to blow up economic ties between the economic
Super powers, parts of the US business community opposed it, and the White House has criticised it.

The speaker said he was "concerned" about China's currency policy but said those worries were outweighed by
"grave concerns" that the measure could trigger a costly feud between the two economic superpowers.

In an apparent bid to shift the volatile issue to the White House, Boehner pushed President Barack Obama to take a formal position on the legislation, as he accused the president of being "out campaigning instead of governing."

(Agencies)