Euro falls sharply on outlook concerns

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 15, 2009 at 2:01 PM CDT

The euro fell sharply against the dollar on Monday, hit by a spike in eurozone job losses and fresh concerns the credit crunch could stifle tentative signs of recovery, dealers said.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper at the weekend quoted a top German industry group official as saying that a deepening credit crunch in Germany was threatening to slam the brakes on an economic recovery there.

Meanwhile EU data showed a record 1.2 million people lost their jobs across the 16 euro countries in the first three months of the year.

The figure, up sharply from 526,000 in the last quarter of 2008, marked the biggest jump on record, raising fears about the regional outlook

Dealers said there was little new in a Group of Eight statement over the weekend but noted that statements of support for the dollar by Russia seemed to have also helped the US unit.

In late Monday London trade, the euro fell to 1.3786 dollars from 1.4021 dollars in New York late on Friday.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar slipped to 97.98 yen from 98.40 yen on Friday.

The eurozone "data and survey evidence point to serious weakness in eurozone labour markets in the second quarter," said IHS Global Insight analyst Howard Archer.

Following the unemployment figures, investors were braced for Germany's ZEW business sentiment survey out Tuesday, which measures the confidence of financial market players.

Investors were also awaiting Tuesday's meeting of the world's top emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- which will likely discuss reducing the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency.

It comes after a meeting of G8 finance ministers at the weekend that ended in disarray because of differences among the world's richest economies over how best to handle the weak banking sector.

"The G8 statement ... contained few surprises," Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a note.

Amid concerns that some countries -- especially China -- could be seeking to reduce the role of the dollar in the international financial system, the analysts said Tuesday's meeting will be closely watched.

"While there is unlikely to be explicit calls for a shift away from the (dollar) ... discussion of trade finance in local currencies and the purchase of IMF bonds could keep the issue in focus," they said.

In late trade in London, the euro was changing hands at 1.3786 dollars against 1.4021 dollars late on Friday, at 135.67 yen (137.89), 0.8470 pounds (0.8515) and 1.5097 Swiss francs (1.5124).

The dollar stood at 97.98 yen (98.40) and 1.0902 Swiss francs (1.0789).

The pound was at 1.6394 dollars (1.6442).

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to 932.25 dollars an ounce from 937.25 dollars an ounce late on Friday.

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