CURRENCY : Dollar in Holding Pattern; Gold Prices Give Ground

Associated Press

The dollar turned mixed Thursday against most key currencies as dealers assessed the impact of improved U.S. trade figures for July.

Gold prices declined. In New York, Republic National Bank reported a late quote of $418.50 an ounce, down from $429.80.

Currency dealers said the dollar fluctuated within a tight range most of the session after Wednesday’s rally, which stemmed from a report showing that the U.S. trade deficit fell to $9.5 billion in July from $13.2 billion in June.

The government attributed the improvement largely to a sharp drop in imports.


Rise Against Pound

“The trade numbers gave a boost to the dollar, but the fact that imports are down indicated continued evidence of a slowing down of the economy,” said James T. McGroarty, a trader at Discount Corp. in New York. “That’s why we have such a mixed picture. You can say the dollar is in a holding pattern.”

Traders said concerns about possible central bank intervention to buffet the dollar’s rise also were responsible for holding the U.S. currency in check.

The financial markets were closed in Tokyo for a national holiday. But in London, the dollar fell to 133.90 Japanese yen from 134.55 yen at Wednesday’s close in Tokyo. In New York, the dollar stood at 133.775 yen, down from 134.275 Wednesday.


The dollar rose in London against the British pound, which slipped to $1.6675 from $1.6750 late Wednesday. Sterling fetched $1.6790 in New York, down from $1.67935 late Wednesday.

Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to levels late Wednesday, included: 1.87475 West German marks, down from 1.8770; 1.58235 Swiss francs, up from 1.58165; 1.2225 Canadian dollars, down from 1.22415; 6.37625 French francs, down from 6.3865, and 1,398.70 Italian lire, down from 1,398.75.

Silver Prices Weak

Late dollar rates in Europe, compared to late rates Wednesday, included: 1.8775 West German marks, down from 1.8783; 1.5820 Swiss francs, down from 1.5835; 6.3790 French francs, down from 6.3915; 2.1160 Dutch guilders, up from 2.1155; 1.2225 Canadian dollars, up from 1.2223, and 1,398.87 Italian lire, down from 1,399.50.


On the Commodity Exchange in New York, gold for current delivery fell $2.70 to $418.60. In London, the metal dropped to a late bid of $417.75 from $421.75 late Wednesday. In Zurich, gold fell to $417.50 from $421.50. Earlier in Hong Kong, gold closed unchanged at $423.45.

Silver prices were weaker. On the Comex, silver bullion for current delivery fell to $6.467 from $6.489, and in London the metal dropped to a late bid of $6.44 from $6.53.

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