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The euro pared gains after approaching a two-month high against the dollar. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won approval from parliament yesterday for austerity measures needed to receive a second aid package, which euro-area finance ministers must decide whether to release when they meet Feb. 15. The dollar fell against most of its major counterparts, including the New Zealand dollar and South Africa’s rand, as stocks and commodities rose before reports forecast to show strong U.S. economic growth.
The yen fell against most of its major peers as Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized 2.3 percent pace in the fourth quarter amid slumping exports that undermined a recovery from last year’s record earthquake. The report underscores pressure on Bank of Japan officials meeting today and tomorrow to consider more monetary easing as gains in the yen worsen losses for exporting companies such as Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi reiterated at a parliamentary budget committee session in Tokyo that he’ll act on excessive and speculative moves in the currency. Japan spent 14.3 trillion yen ($185 billion) in intervention operations last year to stem gains in the currency as it rose to postwar records against the dollar, hurting the nation’s exporters.
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