George Bush, seeking to calm world financial market fears about his forthcoming presidency, said Monday that he will continue the Reagan administration policy of coordinated intervention with U.S. allies in exchange markets when major currencies rise or fall too quickly.
The president-elect sought to minimize the weakening of the dollar against the Japanese yen and German mark and the plunge of the stock market since his election last Tuesday, saying "These gyrations happen.""Exchange market stability is the key. Nobody is going to peg the dollar to any existing currency," he said in an informal meeting on the beach with reporters.
Questions about the markets' behavior have dogged the vice president during his post-election Florida beach vacation. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials fell almost 80 points last week, including a 47-point drop Friday that was partially triggered by fears over erosion of the dollar's value abroad.
For the past three years, the United States and its allies have had a policy of coordinated intervention in exchange markets when major currencies rise or fall too rapidly. The central banks of the major industrial countries buy or sell dollars, depending on whether they are trying to counter a rise or a fall in its value.
Earlier, the co-chairman of Bush's transition team said that cutting the federal budget deficit would be "priority one" for the incoming administration.
"I do think we've got to turn first to the deficit problem as soon as we undertake a new administration," Craig Fuller, Bush's chief of staff, said from Washington on the NBC-TV "Today" program.
Fuller, asked in the interview about investors' concerns, said the Bush White House is moving quickly to address the deficit.
"We've already had some good contacts with the (House Speaker James Wright, D-Texas). I expect to have further contacts with the speaker. I think you'll have people who have a great deal of experience working with each other willing to sit down early and talk about these concerns," Fuller said.
Wright, without mentioning the deficit, said in a separate interview on the same program:
"I think we can find a lot of common ground" with Bush and that "there are many areas in which we can work together, and should, and we ought to reach out to seek those opportunities in every way we can."
Bush also hinted that he might have announcements on appointees to his administration when he returns to Washington this week.
He said that New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu would join him Monday evening at the oceanfront vacation spot.
No other political associates have visited Bush since he arrived here Thursday, but Bush laughlingly cautioned reporters, "Don't read into it anything about Sununu."
Fuller said Sunday that Bush plans to name his top economic advisers later this week.
Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady is widely expected to stay on with Bush, and former Deputy Treasury Secretary Richard G. Darman has been reported to be the choice for budget director.