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The dollar rose against most of its major counterparts as concern increased that China’s economic growth outlook has cooled, spurring demand for the currency of the world’s largest economy. The U.S. currency strengthened after BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said China’s steel production is slowing, boosting concern about the nation’s growth outlook. BHP, whose biggest customer is China, is re-evaluating spending plans amid slowing Chinese growth, the Australian Financial Review reported today, citing comments by Chairman Jacques Nasser to investors. China’s Premier Wen Jiabao this month announced an economic growth target of 7.5 percent for this year, down from an annual 8 percent over the past seven years. Steel output growth in China, the biggest producer, may slow to 4 percent this year, the China Iron and Steel Association said March 6. Housing starts in the U.S. fell in February from a three- year high, showing the recovery in the residential real estate market will take time to develop.
The euro fell against the dollar after earlier briefly erasing losses. The euro rose 0.2 percent to 83.49 pence, after declining to 82.84 pence yesterday, the weakest since Feb. 16. The last time the currency dropped below 82.21 pence was Sept. 10, 2010. The euro fell against the greenback and pound as concern mounted about European economic growth. The Netherlands today increased its 2013 budget deficit forecast to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product from a previous estimate of 4.6 percent. The German Federal Statistics Office said today that producer prices climbed 0.4 percent from January, when they gained 0.6 percent.
The pound strengthened against most of its 16 major peers after U.K. data showed inflation slowed less than economist estimates in February. Consumer prices rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 3.3 percent median estimate.
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