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The dollar fell against most of its major counterparts, reaching the weakest level versus the euro in almost three months, as oil rose above $100 a barrel for a second day amid unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
Crude oil for April delivery climbed as much as 2.8 percent to $102.37 a barrel in New York as turmoil in North Africa and the Mideast spread, fueling concern supplies will be disrupted.
Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi counterattacked rebels in the east coast, where much of the country’s crude is refined or shipped abroad.
The euro gained versus most major currencies after a report showed European producer-price inflation accelerated more than forecast in January, adding to speculation the central bank will signal tightening monetary policy at its meeting tomorrow.
“The strength in the euro isn’t going to go away until post press release from the European Central Bank,” said Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers Group LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Until then, it’s just too easy for interest-rate speculators to push the euro higher.”
The euro erased early losses after factory-gate prices in the euro region jumped 6.1 percent from a year earlier, following a 5.3 percent rise in December, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s the fastest since September 2008.
“There is broad dollar selling across the board; the market is clearly sensing negative effects of higher oil prices on the dollar,” said John McCarthy, director of currency trading at ING Groep NV in New York. “There is decent willingness to sell dollars, but no one is panicking -- that will turn around when oil gets high enough to scare the equity market.”
New Zealand’s dollar was the worst major performer after the prime minister said he expected an interest-rate cut. The Swiss franc rose to a record versus the greenback.
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