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26.10.2011 18:20

American focus: the euro and the pound fell, the yen reached a post-World War II high

The euro fell versus the dollar and yen after reports that talks on bondholder losses of Greek debt were deadlocked added to concern efforts to remedy the European crisis are stalling. The European Union is seeking voluntary participation by banks in a second bailout package for Greece, though a forced solution can’t be ruled out, an EU official said in Brussels today on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. The dispute centers on how much of the risk of any newly issued Greek bonds should be insured, the official said. The 17-nation euro earlier touched the strongest in more than six weeks on news Germany’s lower house of parliament voted to expand the region’s bailout. Germany’s lower house of parliament approved a plan to increase the capacity of the European bailout fund, sending Chancellor Angela Merkel to Brussels with a mandate to clinch a plan to enhance the European Financial Stability Facility.

The yen reached a post-World War II high versus the dollar and gained against most of its most-traded counterparts, even as Finance Minister Jun Azumi ordered staffers to be prepared to take action against the currency gains. Bank of Japan officials will discuss more monetary easing at a meeting tomorrow, the Nikkei newspaper reported. Measures to mitigate the impact of the strong yen on Japan’s economy may include expanding a 50-trillion yen ($660 billion) asset purchase program by 5 trillion yen and purchasing bonds with maturities longer than two years, the Nikkei said without citing anyone.

Canada’s dollar was the best performer against the euro as U.S. durable goods orders were stronger than expected. Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding transportation equipment rose in September by the most in six months, showing manufacturing is supporting the expansion. Demand for goods meant to last at least three years, outside of airplanes and automobiles, climbed 1.7 percent, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The U.S. is the largest trading partner of Canada

The Dollar Index, which IntercontinentalExchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, rose 0.4 percent to 76.52 after earlier falling 0.4 percent to the lowest in six weeks.

The pound snapped five days of gains against the dollar as waning confidence in the euro-area and business optimism plunged to the lowest level in 2 1/2 years. The pound was 0.6 percent weaker at $1.5909 and was little changed against the shared currency at 86.92 pence per euro.

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