WASHINGTON - The United States and other industrial nations have been overpowered by the huge volume of currency trading that has ripped through European exchange markets in recent days, Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady said yesterday.

In a speech to the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Brady admitted that intervention by the Federal Reserve and other central banks was unable to stop the wide swings in currency rates and short-term interest rates within Europe's Exchange Rate Mechanism.

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