Dollar Weakens Further, but Gold Prices Move Up

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - The dollar sank again Monday against most major currencies as dealers anticipated more bad news about the U.S. trade imbalance.

Gold and silver prices rose, boosted by the weakened U.S. currency, traders said.The Republic National Bank in New York quoted gold bullion at $436.75 a troy ounce at 4 p.m. EDT, up from $432.50 on Friday.

The dollar was quoted at 142.60 yen in late New York trading, down slightly from 142.90 on Friday.

Analysts said they saw no end in sight to the recent slide of the troubled dollar, unless figures on the U.S. trade deficit, due to be released Tuesday, improved appreciably.

``Everybody is waiting for the trade figures in the morning,'' said Fred Barth of PBTC International Bank in New York.

The report will detail the country's merchandise trade deficit for February.

Karen Gibbs of Dean Witter Reynolds in Chicago said the markets anticipated some improvement in the monthly deficit figures, but she said the deficit needed to narrow significantly to reverse the dollar's decline.

The ``street consensus,'' Gibbs said, estimated the February deficit at around $13.5 billion, only slightly better than January's $14.8 billion.

In Tokyo, where the trading day begins, the dollar dipped to 141.85 yen before recovering slightly to close at 142.50 yen, unchanged from Friday.

The 142.50 level was the dollar's lowest closing rate against the yen since modern exchange rates were set in the late 1940s.

Later, in London, the dollar slipped further and was quoted at 142.40 yen.

Tokyo traders said the Bank of Japan bought dollars to try to prop up the U.S. currency, but the move had limited psychological impact. Analysts said central bank intervention has become commonplace since the world's industrialized nations agreed to try to stabilize exchange rates after meetings last week in Washington, D.C.

The dollar has continued to fall despite those meetings, because traders believe the industrial powers must do more than intervene in the currency markets to stabilize rates. …