LONDON — The dollar gained against most major currencies in Europe on Thursday, but continued to fall against the West German mark. Gold prices were higher.
The dollar was selling late in the day at 1.9730 West German marks, down from 1.9735 late Thursday. A week ago, it stood at 2.0035 after falling below two marks on Sept. 18.
Dealers in Frankfurt said sentiment was still against the dollar but that was balanced by expectations that central banks might intervene again as they did last week, buying dollars to slow the American currency's fall.
Thursday's exchange rate fixing in Frankfurt of 1.9728 marks was the lowest for the dollar since Jan. 9, 1981, when the dollar was priced at 1.9677 marks.
The dollar also was under pressure by economic statistics from the United States indicating sluggishness in the American economy.
Several dealers said they expected the dollar to fall further over the next few days.
Other late rates for the dollar in Europe compared with Wednesday's late rates: 1.6175 Swiss francs, up from 1.6135; 6.4675 French francs, up from 6.4595; 2.2315 Dutch guilders, up from 2.2285; 1,366.75 Italian lire, up from 1,365.25, and 1.38975 Canadian dollars, up from 1.38875.
In the Italian financial center of Milan, the mark rose to a new high against the Italian lira of 692.35 lire, up from 692.24 Wednesday.
In London late Thursday, one British pound cost $1.4405, more expensive for buyers than Wednesday's $1.4370.
Earlier in Tokyo, the dollar closed at 154.22 Japanese yen, up from 154.05 the previous day. Later in London the dollar was lower at 154.18 yen.