European focus: The euro weakened before European leaders begin a two-day summit in Brussels
The euro weakened against most of its major counterparts before European leaders begin a two-day summit in Brussels today to discuss Greece’s financing needs as the nation struggles to stave off default.
The single currency dropped for a second day against the dollar on prospects Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will face difficulty in getting parliamentary approval next week for a package of budget cuts and asset sales, needed to be eligible for a second round of aid.
The dollar climbed after the Federal Reserve damped speculation of additional stimulus at a policy meeting yesterday. The Australian dollar declined as stocks fell.
“The underlying debt issue in peripheral countries in Europe will continue to justify a risk premium on the euro,” said Geoff Kendrick, head of European currency strategy at Nomura International Plc in London. “Our view is that from a systemic perspective, losses from any debt restructuring look manageable. In the near-term, however, there are headline risks for the euro coming from the meeting.”
The dollar advanced for a second day against the yen after the Fed refrained from debasing the currency further. Policy makers decided to keep the Fed’s balance sheet at a record to spur the economy after completing $600 billion of bond purchases this month in a second round of quantitative easing, or so- called QE2. They cut growth forecasts for this year and next and raised estimates for the unemployment rate.