The dollar fell to a 16-month low versus the euro on speculation the
Federal Reserve will consider further easing measures at today’s meeting to
support the U.S. economy after its bond-buying program expires in June.
The yen weakened against all of its major counterparts after Standard &
Poor’s cut Japan’s sovereign-rating outlook to “negative.” The Australian dollar
rose to a record after a government report showed consumer prices climbed the
most since 2006, spurring investors to increase bets the central bank will boost
The dollar weakened to $1.4714 against the euro, the lowest since December 2009, before trading at $1.4684 this morning.
The yen slipped 0.4 percent to 119.85 per euro, and was little changed
at 81.63 to the dollar. The Dollar Index fell 0.3 percent to 73.624, after
reaching 73.493, the lowest since August 2008, after the central bank began a
two-day policy meeting yesterday that will be followed by Chairman Ben S.
Bernanke’s first press conference after the policy decision is announced. The
Fed will leave its target rate for overnight lending between banks at zero to
0.25 percent, according to all economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The
central bank may say it plans to complete a $600 billion in Treasury purchases
by the end of June, a program known as quantitative easing.
The euro advanced for a seventh day against dollar, the longest winning streak since
March 19, 2009, amid signs growth is quickening in the 17-nation
region. Industrial orders in the euro area rose 1.5 percent in February
from the previous month, when they increased a revised 1.2 percent, according to
economists surveyed by Bloomberg before the data today. The ECB, which aims to
keep inflation below 2 percent, this month raised interest rates by a
quarter-percentage point to 1.25 percent. It left the door open for more rate
increases even as a sovereign debt crisis tempers growth in peripheral countries
such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.
The outlook on Japan’s AA- local-currency government debt rating, the fourth-highest grade, was lowered
from “stable,” S&P said today, citing costs for rebuilding from the
country’s record earthquake on March 11. S&P reduced the rating by one step
in January in the first cut since 2002.
The Aussie rose for a second day on speculation the Reserve Bank of Australia will raise borrowing
costs to contain inflation. The nation’s consumer-price index gained
1.6 percent in the three months ended March 31, the most since June 2006, the
Bureau of Statistics said today. Economists estimated a 1.2 percent increase.
The Aussie jumped as much as 0.6 percent to $1.0852, the highest since the
currency was freely floated in 1983, before trading at $1.0843.