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On Monday the euro was under pressure as France prepared to sell bills after Standard & Poor’s stripped the nation of its top credit rating and cut eight other euro-region nations.
Europe’s shared currency briefly pared declines after the European Central Bank was said to buy Italian and Spanish debt to cap yield increases. The euro dropped on Friday amid reports of imminent ratings cuts before S&P lowered the top grades of France and Austria one level to AA+, with “negative” outlooks. The company affirmed the ratings of countries including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and downgraded Italy, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus by two steps and Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia by one level.
On Tuesday the euro rose for the first time in three days against the dollar and the yen after a successful auction of bonds of Belgium and the European Foundation for financial stability, as well as record growth of German economic sentiment index. Markets have also provided support for the outcome of the auction on government bonds of Belgium, which showed a decrease in the average return over the same previous release. Belgium has attracted 2.96 billion of funds under objective 3.0 billion euros. Positive was also an auction of bonds of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), which attracted 1.501 billion euros at 1.5 billion euros target. Funds held for 6 months, the average yield was 0.2664%, covering 3.1.
On Wednesday the euro gained for a second day versus the dollar and yen as the International Monetary Fund proposed raising its lending capacity by as much as $500 billion to protect the global economy amid Europe’s debt turmoil. The 17-nation currency rallied against most of its major peers as Greek officials resumed negotiations with bondholders. The euro rallied versus the dollar and yen as an IMF spokesman said in a statement that the Washington-based lender wants to increase its resources after identifying a potential need for $1 trillion in coming years. The IMF is studying options and will not comment further until it has consulted its members, the fund said.
On Thursday the euro strengthened to a two-week high against the dollar and the yen as Spain raised more than its maximum target at a debt sale, boosting optimism the region’s sovereign-debt crisis is being contained. Spain sold 6.61 billion euros ($8.5 billion) of debt due in 2016, 2019 and 2022, exceeding the maximum target of 4.5 billion euros set for the auctions. Investors bid for 3.2 times the amount of 2016 notes allotted, versus 1.7 times last week. Demand for the 2022 bond was 2.2 times the amount sold, from 1.5 in November. French borrowing costs declined as the nation sold 7.97 billion euros of medium and long-term securities.
On Friday the euro dropped from a two-week high against the dollar as European stocks fell and Greek officials held debt-swap talks for a third day, damping investor demand for the shared currency. European officials and Greece’s private bondholders agreed in October to carry out a 50 percent cut in the face value of the nation’s debt by voluntarily exchanging outstanding bonds for new securities, with a goal of reducing the country’s borrowings to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020. An accord with bondholders is essential to a second financing package for Greece, which faces a 14.5 billion-euro ($18.7 billion) bond payment on March 20.
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