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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Strong dollar to become US national priority

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Sunday the American economy was not growing as quickly as he would like and that his administration supported a strong dollar policy.

"Our economy is not growing as robustly as we'd like," Bush told reporters at a news conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda ahead of the G8 leaders summit. "We had positive growth in the first quarter, we'll see what happens in the second quarter."

The U.S. economy grew at a 1 percent annual rate in the first quarter amid soaring oil and commodity prices. In a sign of continuing weakness, the Labor Department reported last week U.S. employers cut jobs for the sixth straight month in June.

"We're not as strong as we have been during a lot of my presidency," Bush added.

The Bush administration has come under pressure from abroad to take action to stabilize the weak U.S. dollar, another issue likely to come up during the G8 meetings at the lakeside resort of Toyako July 7-9, after complaints the weakness has contributed to soaring food and fuel prices.

"In terms of the dollar, the United States believes in a strong dollar policy and believes the strength of our economy will be reflected in the dollar," Bush said when asked what world leaders could do to improve the economy and intervene to boost the dollar.

When pressed on potential intervention, Bush replied, "I just said, the relative strength of our economy will be reflected in currencies."

But Bush and Fukuda did not discuss currencies at the meeting, Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Kazuo Kodama told reporters later in the day, Reuters reports.

During the weekend overseas session, the dollar traded between $US0.9611 and 0.9640.

RBC senior currency strategist Sue Trinh said the dollar held up quite well in "pretty quiet markets" with the US Independence Day long weekend.

"The Aussie maintained figures around the 96 area," Ms Trinh said.

Ms Trinh said with few local and overseas drivers for the market, markets would look to the Group of Eight leaders summit in Hokkaido, Japan for comments about the US dollar, reports.

"It will be a quiet start to the week," she said.

"There will be focus on the G8 summit in Hokkaido today.

"And for any comments on the sideline by various world leaders and officials about US dollar weakness."

Source: agencies