Clinton talks up the dollar

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT BILL Clinton said yesterday that he favoured a strong dollar and denied that his administration had taken any decision to allow the currency to fall. He was speaking at the end of a day on which the dollar had risen against the euro and the yen after two weeks in decline.

Asked whether the departure of Robert Rubin as Treasury Secretary had been accompanied by a change of policy, he replied: "No, we haven't modified our policy. I think the United States has to be for a strong dollar." He attributed the currency's recent fall to economic recovery in Asia and growth in Europe.

His comments came as data showed that spending by US consumers roared ahead in July, but Wall Street shrugged off this latest evidence that the Federal Reserve will need to cool the economy with an interest-rate rise. The Dow Jones index was 58 points up at 10,846.06 by midday. Its strength helped shares in London; the FTSE 100 closed up nearly 139 points at 6,153.3. The Dow later fell back to close up 1.59 at 10,789.39.

The value of US retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in July - 9.1 per cent higher than a year earlier.