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The euro strengthened against most of its major counterparts on optimism European leaders will agree to release bailout funds for Greece on Feb. 20. The euro pared gains against the dollar as the Greek government drew up legislation that could be used to impose losses on investors who don’t support a debt swap. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos expressed optimism that an “agreement on Greece” can be reached at a Brussels meeting of euro-area finance ministers on Feb. 20 after a joint conference call today.
The yen fell to a two-month low versus the shared currency and declined against all its most-traded counterparts as global equity and commodity markets rallied.
The pound gained 0.2 percent to $1.5829, extending its weekly advance to 0.4 percent. Sterling rose 0.8 percent to 125.77 yen after reaching 125.90, the strongest since Nov. 7. Sales including fuel climbed 0.9 percent from December, when they rose 0.6 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today, spurring speculation the U.K. economy will avoid a recession.
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