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On Monday the dollar Index fell to a one-week low as traders sold the U.S. currency in favor of the Swiss franc, triggering automatic sell orders for the pair that further weighed on the greenback.
The 17-nation euro also rose against the dollar as it broke through its 100-day moving average, a technical level that once breached, may spur further appreciation. The shared currency earlier fell against most of its major counterparts before a report forecast to show a contraction in industrial output.
On Tuesday 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, 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.
On Wednesday the dollar rose against most of its major counterparts as concern grew that risk-asset gains have outpaced prospects for economic growth, boosting appetite for the perceived safety of the greenback. The 17-nation euro reached the highest level in almost two weeks against the dollar earlier after Greece won parliamentary approval for a bailout and as Germany and Portugal sold bonds at auctions. The euro was supported after Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won approval for a 130-billion-euro ($172 billion) aid package. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said today that “Greece is making progress toward sustainability.”
On Thursday the yen rose by more than one percent against all of its 16 most-traded peers as weaker factory data in Europe and China spurred concern economic growth was slowing, boosting safety demand. The yen surged by the most in three weeks against the dollar after Japan reported an unexpected trade surplus for last month, adding to evidence of a rebound in the economy.
On Friday the euro climbed against the yen after falling for three days, prompting bets the move lower was overdone. The euro rose for the first time in four days against the dollar after dropping to the lowest in almost a week yesterday amid a decrease in a gauge of euro-area industry based on a survey of purchasing managers. The yen weakened earlier after versus the dollar Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the central bank and the government share the same view on the economy, increasing concern the central bank may increase stimulus measures to boost the nation’s economy, which would debase the currency. Finance Minister Jun Azumi said the Bank of Japan established an inflation target of 1 percent on Feb. 14, replacing earlier wording that the central bank had an “understanding” of where consumer prices should go. It also said it would add 10 trillion yen ($119 billion) yen of stimulus to the economy.
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