Clarke says G-7 nations welcome a strong dollar

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer Kenneth Clarke said in Tokyo Jan. 10 that he believes the United States is still supportive of a strong dollar.Speaking at a press conference, Clarke acknowledged that finance ministers and central bank heads of the Group of Seven industrialized nations have welcomed the strength of the dollar in recent meetings. However, he declined to comment on how the G-7 nations would evaluate foreign exchange rates when they hold their next meeting in Berlin next month, saying only that exchange rates should not go against economic fundamentals. “But I know that (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury) Robert Rubin continues to believe that a strong dollar is desirable,” he said.On the issue of whether Britain will join other European Union members in launching a single currency in January 1999, Clarke said his nation has not made any decision yet. “It is by no means certain the (January 1999) date will be met,” the minister said, adding that his nation would make the decision at the “best, most sensible time.”