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The euro rose versus the dollar, heading for its biggest quarterly gain in a year, after European finance ministers agreed to boost an anti-debt-crisis firewall, adding confidence the region’s financial problems are abating. European governments capped fresh rescue lending at 500 billion euros ($666 billion), after a Germany-led coalition opposed a further expansion of the region’s anti-crisis firewall. Adding the 300 billion euros already committed to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, euro-area finance ministers put the overall size of the firewall at 800 billion euros. In a statement, they ruled out using the 240 billion euros left in the temporary rescue fund to go beyond that. Europe is counting on the sums pledged so far, plus a 1 trillion-euro cash infusion by the European Central Bank into the financial system, to persuade the rest of the world that it is doing enough to keep the two-year-old debt crisis at bay.
The dollar fell against most of its major counterparts as stocks and commodities advanced, boosting demand for higher- yielding assets. The Dollar Index, which Intercontinental Exchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six U.S. trading partners, fell 0.4 percent to 78.900, touching the lowest level since March 1.
The yen erased gains after touching a three- week high against the dollar amid speculation companies are bringing home overseas earnings before the fiscal year ends tomorrow. Speculation Japanese companies are buying the yen to bring home overseas earnings before the end of the fiscal year also boosted the currency earlier.
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