NEW YORK — The dollar resumed its record-setting rise in the first session of the New Year, reaching all-time highs Wednesday against the currencies of Britain, France, Italy, Sweden and South Africa.
The dollar also rose to a 13-year high against the Dutch guilder, an 11 1/2-year high against the West German mark and a seven-year high against the Swiss franc.
Gold and silver prices fell to 2 1/2-year lows, losing ground as the dollar rose. Republic National Bank in New York said gold bullion was bid at $302 an ounce, down $5.75 from the late bid Monday.
Currency and bullion markets were closed Tuesday in observance of New Year's Day.
Currency dealers and demand for the dollar was strong as 1985 trading began, helped by falling oil prices around the world and expectations of rising interest rates and a strong economy in the United States.
The British pound fell to as low as $1.1385 during trading in London before recovering to close at $1.1485. That was still well below the previous record low close of $1.1578, which was set Monday. Later in New York, the pound fell to $1.1450 from $1.15825 late Monday.
In Stockholm, the dollar reached a record 9.03 Swedish krona, up from 9.02 krona Monday,, while the South African rand slid to a record low 49.85 U.S. cents in Johannesburg, down from 50.30 cents Monday.
Late dollar rates in Europe, compared to late rates Monday, included: 3.1755 West German marks, up from 3.1525: 9.7175 French francs, up from 9.6450; 1,947 Italian lire, up from 1,933.50; 2.6232 Swiss francs, up from 2.6025; 3.5825 Dutch guilders, up from 3.5610, and 1.3227 Canadian dollars, up from 1.3204.
Foreign exchange markets in Tokyo were closed.
In London, the dollar was quoted at 251.92 Japanese yen, up from 251.58 yen Monday. By the end of the trading day in the United States, the dollar rose to 251.95 yen from 251.85 yen late Monday.
Dollar rates in New York, compared to late rates Monday, included: 3.17825 West German marks, up from 3.1550; 2.6250 Swiss francs, up from 2.5920; 9.71875 French francs, up from 9.6450, and 1.32175 Canadian dollars, up from 1.32125.
Gold fell $2.22 in Hong Kong to $308.06 an ounce.