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Despite the dollar's 8 percent decline this year against a group of six currencies, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have both said this week that the U.S. supports a "strong dollar" policy. Bernanke on Wednesday said that the Fed, by keeping a watch on inflation and taking steps to reinvigorate the economy, was helping support the dollar.
But the dollar's broad drop suggests that U.S. consumers will have to pay more for imported goods from all over the world, particularly oil. Prices for crude rose to about $113 a barrel Friday. Analysts say retail gas prices could reach a nationwide average of $4 a gallon by early May.
Central banks overseas are increasing interest rates to fend off inflation, making their currencies more attractive to investors seeking higher yields.