LONDON — News of an unexpectedly wide U.S. merchandise trade deficit in October pushed the dollar down sharply to a record low against the Japanese yen in hectic European trading Thursday.
Gold prices rose.
The U.S. Federal Reserve, the West German Bundesbank and other European central banks reportedly intervened to buy dollars to help slow the pace of the dollar's fall, but the moves didn't give the dollar much lasting support.
The Bundesbank, in an unusual move, confirmed that it intervened, as did the Bank of Italy. The Italian central bank, departing from normal practice, said the intervention was made in concert with the Fed.
The dollar plunged when the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. October trade deficit widened to a record $17.6 billion from $14.08 billion in September. Dealers said they had been expecting a trade gap of about $14.5 billion.