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The euro fell to a three-week low against the dollar after a report showed that the decline in the euro area has increased in the fourth quarter, more than expected, undermining demand for assets in the region and to encourage the retention of interest rates at low levels.
The single currency also fell against the yen as separate data showed that gross domestic product fell in Germany and France.
The euro also fell after the vice-president of the European Central Bank's Vitor Constancio said the ECB is technically ready for the negative interest rate on deposits in case of need. Recall that the ECB deposit rate is now zero. The central bank usually change their rates three together, so any reduction in rates by 25 basis points could lead to a reduction in deposit rates to 0.25%, which will reduce the attractiveness of the euro.
The dollar rose, helped by the reported data on the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, which showed a larger than expected decline. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week of February 10, the number of Americans who first filled out a form to apply for unemployment benefits fell by 27 thousand to 341 thousand - 360 thousand lower than forecast and the revised value for the previous week to 368 thousand
The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, rose by 1,500 to 352,500. Despite a slight increase in the last week, the average rate remained at five-year low.
The yen rose against most major currencies, after the Russian finance minister said that the G20 group should take a tougher stance on currency manipulation.
The New Zealand dollar rose against the U.S. dollar while still achieving the highest level in the last 17 months, after data showed that the index of business activity in the manufacturing sector rose sharply in January, while still achieving the level of 55.2, which is the maximum with June 2010. Note that such positive data significantly increase the chance that the central bank will raise its level of interest rates.
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