NEW YORK — The dollar slumped against most major currencies Thursday, despite some support by the West German central bank.
Gold made heavy gains, spurred by surging platinum prices and renewed sensitivity to political strains in South Africa. At Republic National Bank in New York, gold stood at $437.50. That was up $12.50 from Wednesday's price.
The dollar's declines derived from "the same old bearishness," said Earl Johnson, an analyst at the Chicago-based Harris Trust & Savings Bank. "There's a lot of scepticism over the underlying strength of the U.S. economy, and whether the trade accounts will improve, despite the better numbers in August," he said.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported a $4.7-billion drop in the August trade figure, to $13.3 billion--the biggest monthly drop on record.
Dealers said the West German central bank had intervened by buying an unspecified amount of dollars on the open market after the dollar began to slide.