MONEY: Setback for the Greenback

In the coldest, darkest days of the global fuel shortage last winter, Americans could console themselves that the long-ailing dollar was making a valiant recovery. Money traders were eagerly buying dollars because they thought the U.S. would suffer less from the oil squeeze than other countries, and because they were impressed by the fact that two painful dollar devaluations had swung the U.S. trade balance back into the black. The turnaround proved shortlived; in recent months the dollar's value has sunk enough to wipe out almost all the gains posted during the fuel crisis.

As of last October, according to...

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