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U.S. OFFICIALS TRYING TO BUCK DOLLAR'S SLIDE

The Clinton administration intervened on foreign currency markets to buy dollars Monday as the U.S. currency hit another postwar low against the Japanese yen.

Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announced the dollar-buying effort in a brief statement that provided no details about how much in resources were used."We acted in the exchange markets overnight out of concern with recent movements in exchange rates," Rubin said.

The Treasury secretary repeated past assurances that the administration "believes a strong dollar is in America's interests and we remain committed to strengthening the fundamentals that are ultimately important to maintain a strong and stable currency."

While the official announcement provided no details, currency traders earlier had reported that both the United States and the Bank of Japan were buying dollars during Asian trading Monday.

While the intervention briefly bolstered the dollar, the U.S. currency began slipping again in New York trading and at midmorning was trading below Friday's record low of 86.07 yen.

The dollar-buying marked the first time the United States has intervened on foreign currency markets since early March.

The United States so far this year has intervened alone to purchase dollars and acted in concert with its economic allies. However, so far, none of the efforts has had the desired effect of halting the dollar's slide.

Since the first of the year, the dollar has lost 13 percent of its value against the Japanese yen and is 11 percent lower in comparison to the German mark.

Last week, Germany's central bank cut interest rates, in part to bolster the dollar. Lower interest rates in Germany in comparison to the United States would normally have the effect of making the dollar stronger against the German mark, because foreign investors would be more inclined to hold dollars in order to get a higher rate of return.

However, Germany's rate cuts on Thursday failed to have any long-term impact as the dollar came under renewed pressure on Friday, setting another record low against the Japanese yen and falling close to the all-time low against the German mark.

Rubin, who specialized in currency trading during his years on Wall Street, has urged restraint in dealing with the current dollar crisis. He has argued that it was essential for the administration to focus on promoting a strong U.S. economy and that, in time, this would do more to bolster the dollar's standing than any temporary intervention effort.

On Wall Street Monday, stock prices were slightly higher. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 7 points at 4,163.91 in active trading at midday. Other averages also posted gains.