The dollar was mixed against other key currencies Friday amid signs of progress in U.S.-Japan trade talks.
Activity was light on Friday as market participants, jittery about the negotiations and the prospect of a hike next week in interest rates, held their positions.Gold prices rose. On the Commodity Exchange in New York, gold for current delivery up 70 cents a troy ounce to $396.10, the highest level in more than 13 months. Republic National Bank said the spot price of gold was $395.70, up 60 cents from the same time Thursday.
The dollar has been under pressure vs. the Japanese yen in recent days as the United States attempts to work out a deal with Japan to open that country's markets to American goods ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline for economic sanctions.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono met with U.S. officials Friday, and although there were no breakthroughs, Kono gave an upbeat assessment of the talks after currency trading had subsided for the day.
The two sides agreed to meet again Saturday.
Concerns over the talks held the dollar down slightly against the yen in European dealings. In the United States, statements by an influential White House adviser that the dollar will fall if the talks fail weakened the dollar vs. the yen, traders said.
Fred Bergsten, director of the Institute for International Economics and an adviser to President Clinton, said in a broadcast that if the talks fail, the dollar will plunge against the yen and other currencies.
The United States wants to narrow its $60 billion a year trade deficit with Japan. Many traders believe the Clinton administration would use a cheaper dollar as a weapon to pressure the Japanese if there is no agreement.