The U.S. dollar was higher abroad yesterday but it fell back in New York trading after the Federal Reserve failed to drain reserves from the banking system, an action that would have pushed key interest rates higher.

Gold continued to fluctuate in a narrow range and ended the day slightly higher. In Zurich gold was $629.50 anounce at the close, for a $3 gain on the day. The same close of $629.50 in London was $2 higher than Wednesday's $627.50.

In New York gold closed at $635 an ounce, up from $632.50 the previous day. The Comex settlement price $634.50, compared with $632.

Silver was a bit lower but dealers said there was a firm tone at the close when it traded at $16.25 an ounce, compared with $16.295 Wednesday. Silver settled at $16.287, down from $16.335.

In London the pound eased to $2.3705from $2.3750 Wednesday, but it was back up to $2.3765 in New York.

In Tokyo, the dollar continued to weaken, closing at 225.15 yen compared with 225.65. But Tokyo sources said the drop was technical and the dollar inched up to 225.45 yen in New York.