Euro falls on worries about Europe debt problems

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 4:37 PM
Euro falls on worries about Europe debt problems

The euro fell against the dollar and other major currencies Tuesday after worries mounted about Europe's ability to resolve its debt crisis.

France's finance minister said the growth estimate of 1.5 percent for Europe's second-biggest economy next year was "probably too high."

Moody's warned that the stable outlook for France's top-notch credit rating is under pressure. The ratings agency said it will study whether to put France's rating on notice for a possible downgrade, focusing on the government's ability to shore up its finances and other potentially harmful economic or financial-market developments.

Leaders of France and Germany are struggling to agree on a plan to resolve to the crisis. France would be expected to shoulder much of the burden of bailing out smaller neighbors and propping up banks. A default by Greece or a wider financial crisis would hurt Europe's economy and make the euro less stable.

Economic growth in the group of countries that uses the euro already is perilously close to zero.

The shared currency recovered some in later trading after news reports that France and Germany were closer to a deal.

The euro bought $1.3747 at 3:03 p.m. Eastern time, barely changed from $1.3742 late Monday. It traded as high as $1.3817 and as low as $1.3651 earlier Tuesday.

The euro gained 4 percent against the dollar last week after French and German leaders appeared to be close to a deal that would prevent a messy default by Greece.

The euro edged up against the Japanese yen, to 105.73 yen from 105.58 late Monday.

In other trading, the dollar's value swung sharply as traders reacted to news about wholesale prices and homebuilders' sentiment.

Wholesale prices increased 0.8 percent in September, the most in five months. The main cause was a surge in food and gas prices.

Rising prices make each dollar a little less valuable. Concerns about inflation caused the dollar to dip against a basket of six major currencies. The benchmark AMEX dollar index fell to 77.210 from 77.511 earlier in the session. It bounced to 77.552 just after 10 a.m.

The National Association of Home Builders said that U.S. builders remain very pessimistic about the housing market, though their outlook improved slightly since August. Following that announcement, the dollar index, or DXY, fell from its session highs.

The DXY was 76.992 at 3:03 p.m. Eastern time, up from 77.15 late Monday. The DXY measures the dollar's value against the euro, yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc.

The dollar tends to rise when traders are nervous about possible disruptions to financial markets, such as from Europe. The dollar and yen are considered more likely to hold their value, compared to higher-risk currencies linked to commodity prices or demand from developed economies.

The British pound fell to $1.5734 from $1.5753 late Monday. The dollar fell against the franc, to 0.8981 from 0.8990 late Monday. It fell to 76.76 yen from 76.82.

The dollar bought 1.0162 Canadian dollars, down from 1.0201 late Monday. It fell to 6.6418 krona from 6.6621 late Monday.