Dollar Lower in U.S., Gold Off

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - The dollar declined against most key currencies in U.S. trading Monday after moving generally higher in quiet European dealings.

Gold prices fell. Republic National Bank in New York quoted gold bullion at $338.50 a troy ounce as of 4 p.m. EST, down $1 from Friday's late bid.

Persistent but unconfirmed reports that major industrial nations are considering measures to stabilize foreign exchange markets have subdued trading and made dealers reluctant to alter their holdings significantly, said Alfred Driever, a currency trader with Salomon Brothers Inc. in New York.

According to reports published in the United States and abroad, the exchange rate topic will be high on the agenda when the seven-nation summit is held in Tokyo in May. Government representatives from the United States, Britain, France, Japan and West Germany are reportedly meeting in London March 8-9 to lay the basis for the summit discussions.

That same group of five countries agreed last September to join in pushing the dollar's value down. Since then the dollar has fallen sharply.

Currency dealers in Europe said investors there ignored reports that West Germany's central bank, Bundesbank, was preparing to cut its discount rate from 4 percent to 3.5 percent. The discount rateis the interest rate charged on loans to commercial banks. Lower interest rates make a currency less attractive to investors.

In London, the British pound was shaken by another round of oil price cuts. It fell to $1.4405 from $1.44775 late Friday and slumped to a new low against the West German mark, falling below 3.20 marks for the first time. Britain is among the world's leading oil producers.

By late in New York, the pound had recovered a bit to $1.445, compared with $1.4420 late Friday. …