The euro weakened to a more than three-month low after Francois Hollande was elected president of France and as Greek voters flocked to anti-bailout parties, stoking concern austerity efforts in Europe may be derailed. The 17-nation currency slid for a sixth day, its longest series of declines since September, dropping as much as 1 percent before paring losses. Hollande, who becomes the first Socialist in 17 years to control Europe’s second-biggest economy, pledged to push for less austerity and more growth in the region.
Hollande’s platform calls for policies German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes, including increased spending and delayed deficit cuts. He used his campaign to call for an activist European Central Bank, defying Germany. Merkel telephoned Hollande to congratulate him and to invite him for talks in Berlin “as soon as possible,” according to a statement from her government.
Greek elections left the two biggest parties short of the clear majority to keep bailout efforts on track. With the nation dependent on rescue funds to stay in the euro, the next government will need to find cuts worth 5.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 and 2014.
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