As G-20 leaders from around the world meet on Friday to discuss fears of competitive currency devaluations, policymakers told CNBC that talk of a currency war was misplaced and discussions should instead focus on a how to heal the still fragile global economy.
Talk has focused on the "race to debase" in recent months after a leadership change in Japan, with new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe openly calling for aggressive monetary stimulus from the country's central bank.
France, fearing a strengthening euro and downward pressure to export competitiveness brought up the topic at a meeting of finance ministers on Monday.
Many expected more of the same at Friday's meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Moscow, but Angel Gurria, secretary general at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development dismissed the idea.
"I don't think we should be losing any time in talking about the currency wars," he told CNBC Friday in Moscow.
"There is no currency wars, we are furthest away today from a currency war than we were two or three years ago."
(Read More: Currency Wars Come to Moscow as G-20 Meets)
The currency war phrase, coined in 2010 by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega, is no longer relevant, according to Gurria. He said such jargon should be resigned to the past, he said.
"We're fighting an old war. Today we should be concentrating on productivity, be concentrating on competitiveness and we're being distracted by this currency discussion," he said.
The new managing director of the International Institute of Finance (IIF), Timothy Adams, added to calls for a return to the growth agenda rather than currency devaluations.
"Let's stop talking about targeting exchange rates and talk about targeting domestic policy agenda, even though it may have exchange rate implications," he told CNBC in Moscow.
"For example, Japan dealing with 18 years of deflationary pressures...they should deal with that and we should be supportive [but] the key is to not target the exchange rate and maybe just stop talking about exchange rates generally," he added.
The yen has tumbled in value since the Bank of Japan doubled its inflation target to 2 percent in January, and made an open-ended commitment to continue buying assets next year.
Leaders from the G-7 group of industrialized nations released a statement on Tuesday reaffirming their longstanding commitment to market-determined exchange rates. But, shortly afterwards confusion reigned as reports emerged that an unidentified G-7 official was quoted as saying the statement had been "misinterpreted" and was instead a warning shot for Japan.
(Read More: Currency Wars or Just Currency Confusion?)
And it appears there may be similar disparity among the G-20, with Adams saying there is a "message void" coming from the policy makers.
"They've got to focus on growth, everyone recognizes after looking at fourth quarter data [in the euro zone] that, years into this crisis, recovery is fragile at best. Ministers and central bankers are going to have to look around the table and ask what are we doing wrong and right to tackle this slow growth environment."
"That's why we need a cooperative spirit coming out of Moscow this weekend," he said.
Jacob Frenkel, international chairman at JPMorgan Chase and former governor at the Bank of Israel, warned of an escalation of aggressive exchange rate policies.
"Each country wants to find a mechanism to stimulate their demand for each product since domestically their policies have already exhausted their capabilities," he told CNBC Friday in Moscow, suggesting that monetary and fiscal policy had been exhausted by most nations.
Instead, countries will look to increase overseas demand for their exports goods by devaluing their currencies, he said.
"But if each one of us tries to depreciate our currency, the currency basically does not regain competitiveness," he said.
"We are all going into a direction of, first, adversarial relationships and, finally, maybe an inflationary pressure in the pipeline. This is the danger of the currency war, that needs to be really avoided at all cost."
-By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch, additional contribution by Holly Ellyatt
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