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The yen rose against most of its major counterparts after the U.S. economy grew less than forecast and Standard & Poor’s cut Spain’s credit rating, adding to concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. The yen also gained amid concern new Bank of Japan stimulus won’t be enough to boost the nation’s growth. The Japanese central bank increased the total size of its stimulus programs by 5 trillion yen ($62 billion). It’s boosting its asset-purchase fund to 40 trillion yen by June 2013, versus the previous target of 30 trillion yen by year-end, while paring by 5 trillion yen a separate program that provides funds to banks.
The euro fell against the yen and dollar after S&P cut Spain’s long-term credit rating yesterday by two steps to BBB+ from A. It said the nation’s outlook is negative as the recession undermines efforts to trim its budget deficit. The unemployment rate in Spain increased to an 18-year high of 24.4 percent in the first quarter, from 22.9 percent in the previous three months, the National Statistics Institute said in Madrid. Italy paid 60 basis points, or 0.6 percentage point, more than a month ago to sell 10-year debt. The country auctioned 5.95 billion euros ($7.9 billion) of bonds today.
The dollar extended a loss versus the euro after Commerce Department figures showed U.S. gross domestic product rose in the first quarter at a 2.2 percent annual rate. That followed a 3 percent pace from October through December and compared with the 2.5 percent median forecast of economists.
The pound rose for a 10th day against the dollar, its longest winning streak since June 1992, and climbed to the strongest in almost 22 months against the euro.
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