China has called for a more diversified and 'rational' currency system to help stabilise foreign exchange rates.

The call came at used a meeting of the G8 rich nations and G5 developing powers in Italy.

'We need to improve the international monetary system,' State Councillor Dai Bingguo said, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

'We should have a better system for reserve currency insurance and regulation, so that we can maintain relative stability of major reserve currencies' exchange rates and promote a diversified rational international reserve currency regime.'

China and other emerging economies have argued that the dominance of the US dollar as the world's main reserve currency and in foreign exchange is a destabilising factor in the global economy and have called cautiously for reform.

They have so far met resistance from the G8 and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters there had been 'no real discussion' of it at the summit and it was 'not realistic' to expect progress in the near future.