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The euro touched its strongest level in two weeks versus the dollar after German business confidence unexpectedly increased to a nine-month high, fueling investor appetite for risk. The Munich-based Ifo institute said today its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 109.9 this month from 109.8 in March. The 17-nation currency gained for a fourth day versus the yen amid bets the International Monetary Fund will increase its lending capacity to help keep Europe’s debt crisis contained. Governments are leaning toward committing more than $400 billion in fresh funding for the IMF to help it protect the world economy against more fiscal turmoil in Europe. The U.K., Australia and Singapore joined Japan, Denmark and Switzerland among the countries to rally this week to Managing Director Lagarde’s call for capacity beyond the current $380 billion. She told reporters she expected the IMF’s firepower to be “significantly” increased.
The yen touched its weakest level since April 10 versus the dollar, 81.78, on speculation the Bank of Japan will add to monetary easing at its next meeting on April 27. Bank Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said in a speech in Washington this week the nation still needs monetary stimulus. The BOJ set a 1 percent inflation goal on Feb. 14 and increased the size of its program to buy government debt. Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said two days ago the central bank is ready to implement additional easing if necessary.
The pound gained for a fifth day against the dollar after retail sales climbed. Sterling was poised for its biggest weekly gain versus the dollar in 11 months after U.K. retail sales climbed more than forecast in March. Sales including auto fuel gained 1.8 percent, compared with February, when they declined 0.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.
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