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The yen rallied against all of its major counterparts as speculation increased that the surge in oil prices this month and Europe’s unsettled debt crisis may weigh on economic recoveries, boosting demand for safety.
The euro extended its decline, falling by the most in more than three months against the yen, after Standard & Poor’s placed the region’s rescue fund on negative outlook. The euro briefly extended its losses against the dollar after S&P cut its outlook on the bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to negative, reflecting a similar move on two euro-area nations that act as guarantors to the facility. The EFSF lost its top credit rating in January after earlier downgrades to France and Austria. The euro remained lower even after Germany’s lower house of parliament approved a second Greek bailout package worth 130 billion euros ($174 billion). German Chancellor Angela Merkel and euro-area leaders now shift their focus on whether to bolster the region’s bailout firewall as they prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on March 1-2.
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