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The euro touched a four-month low against the dollar as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said financial-market turmoil may last another two years, adding to concern Europe’s crisis is worsening. The 17-nation currency reversed its losses as a technical indicator signaled its recent decline came too fast. The euro was headed for a fourth weekly decline versus the yen before a meeting of Group of Eight nations’ leaders beginning today.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and fellow European leaders will face pressure from their G-8 counterparts to do more to quell the turmoil after speculation Greece will exit the euro wiped almost $4 trillion from global stock markets this month.
Fitch lowered Greece’s ranking to CCC from B-, saying the strong showing of “anti-austerity” parties in elections on May 6 and subsequent failure to form a government underscored the lack of public and political support for the country’s bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Moody’s yesterday lowered the credit ratings of Spain’s biggest banks including Banco Santander SA (SAN) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, citing economic weakness and the government’s mounting budget strain.
The yen has risen versus all of its 16 major counterparts this week as a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia yesterday showed its general economic index unexpectedly fell to the lowest since September. Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi said today he is watching currency moves with great interest and more caution. Azumi said Japan will take appropriate steps if needed in the foreign-exchange market.
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