European focus: The euro dropped
The dollar, yen and Swiss franc advanced against their major counterparts as stocks slumped and commodities declined, boosting demand for the safest assets.
The Dollar Index approached a seven-week high before U.S. reports forecast to show durable goods orders contracted in April and house prices fell in March.
The euro dropped toward a two-month low against the dollar amid concern that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will spread as policy makers disagree over how to solve Greece’s fiscal woes.
European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told French newspaper Les Echos in an interview that Greek debt maturities could be extended on a voluntary basis.
“The main concern still centers around Greece and potential contagion in its sovereign-debt crisis to Spain,” said Greg Gibbs, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Sydney.