NEW YORK — The dollar drifted marginally lower Monday against most key currencies in thin pre-holiday trading after rising overseas.
Gold prices were little changed to mostly cheaper. Republic National Bank in New York quoted gold at $479.75 an ounce at 4 p.m. EST, unchanged from late Friday.
Currency dealers said the dollar had been firmer for most of the session but started to slump in the waning hours mainly because of technical factors.
"Since we're in a down trend, the drift will be down," said Ron Sapiro, head trader for Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust Co.
Trading was described as lackluster almost everywhere.
"Our boys are playing cards or staring into the air," said one dealer at a bank in Frankfurt.
Sapiro predicted that the markets would remain quiet through the Christmas and New Year holidays unless the so-called Group of Seven, representing the world's major industrialized nations, "comes out with some earth-shattering" statement about the dollar.
Speculation of an imminent statement by the G-7 reaffirming its determination to stabilize currency markets had helped the dollar overseas.
In Tokyo, where trading ends before Europe's business day begins, the dollar rose to 126.65 Japanese yen from Friday's 126.45. The currency traded at 126.93 yen later in London and fell to 126.655 yen in New York from 127.055 Friday.
The dollar fell against the British pound. It cost $1.8275 to buy one pound, up from $1.8260 late Friday. In New York, sterling fetched $1.8400, up from $1.82525.
Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to late Friday's, included: 1.6290 West German marks, down from 1.63435; 1.32225 Swiss francs, up from 1.32075; 1.3072 Canadian dollars, unchanged from 1.3072; 5.5300 French francs, down from 5.5305, and 1,195.50 Italian lire, down from 1,201.50.
Late dollar rates in Europe included: 1.6307 West German marks, up from 1.6218; 1.3255 Swiss francs, up from 1.3230; 5.5145 French francs, down from 5.5150; 1.8345 Dutch guilders, up from 1.8330; 1,198.50 Italian lire, up from 1,197.50, and 1.3068 Canadian dollars, up from 1.3062.
On the Commodity Exchange in New York, gold for current delivery fell to $479.60 an ounce from $479.80 Friday. Gold also slipped in Europe, closing at a late bid price of $479.50 an ounce in both London and Zurich. On Friday, gold closed at $480.20 in London and $480.50 in Zurich.
Earlier, in Hong Kong, gold was bid at $481.52, down from $481.76 Saturday.
On the New York Comex, silver for current delivery rose to $6.797 an ounce from $6.66 late Friday. Silver rose in London to a late bid price of $6.78, compared to Friday's $6.74.
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