Treasury Secretary John Snow says the Bush administration is still committed to a strong dollar, even though the U.S. currency remains weak on world markets and has lost 20 percent of its value against the euro in the past year.
In remarks to a business audience in Washington Mr. Snow said nothing about the dollar and global currency markets. But afterward he told reporters that while the administration favors a strong dollar, its value should be determined by market forces. He gave no indication that he is concerned by the dollar's ongoing decline against the euro and the yen.
In his speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Mr. Snow extolled the fast pace of economic growth that in recent months has erased worries of a double-dip recession.
"There is no prospect of inflation right now," he said. "Interest rates are at their lowest levels in 40 years. And most fundamentally of all, people are beginning to feel a lot more confident."
The brief and shallow 2001 recession has given way to over four percent growth, a booming stock market, and rising corporate earnings.
Mr. Snow said the administration is concerned about the widening government budget deficit and is determined to do something about it.
"The administration is committed, and not just rhetorically, but taking the steps to make the rhetoric come to pass, committed to cutting this deficit in half over the course of the next five years," said the U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Mr. Snow was a long-serving chief executive of a transportation company before being named treasury secretary one year ago. He said the administration wants to remove longer-term impediments to growth, particularly the wave of class-action lawsuits that he believes jeopardize the survival of many American companies.