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The dollar fell against its higher- yielding counterparts as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said accommodative monetary policy is still needed to reduce U.S. unemployment. The decline in U.S. unemployment may reflect “a reversal of the unusually large layoffs that occurred during late 2008 and over 2009,” Bernanke said in a speech today in Arlington, Virginia. “To the extent that this reversal has been completed, further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies.”
The euro strengthened against the U.S. currency as Germany said it may back plans to increase the debt-crisis rescue funds before the region’s finance ministers meet March 30. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany may back plans for the temporary and permanent euro-area rescue funds to run in parallel. Ministers are due to discuss plans to combine the temporary European Financial Stability Facility and its permanent successor from July, the European Stability Mechanism in Copenhagen this week.мEuropean sentiment was also buoyed after Munich-based Ifo institute’s German business climate index rose more than expected.
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