Euro hits six-month dollar low on Greece worries

LONDON - The euro slumped to a six-month low point against the dollar on Friday as worries deepened about the state of the European economies in light of Greece’s debt woes.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 29 Jan 2010, 7:03 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:46 AM

The single currency also dropped as official data showed the eurozone unemployment rate rose to 10 percent last month.

At 0115 GMT, the euro struck 1.3913 dollars — the lowest point since mid-July 2009.

Later in London trading, the single currency stood at 1.3965 dollars compared with 1.3966 late in New York on Thursday. The euro has dropped 4.5 percent in value against the dollar over the past two weeks.

Against the yen on Friday, the dollar rose to 90.24 yen from 89.92 yen late Thursday.

The market has been spooked by Greece’s deteriorating fiscal health and bloated budget deficit.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde on Friday voiced confidence that fellow eurozone member Greece would be able to tame a runaway public deficit.

The French minister also told journalists on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos that members of the Eurozone are “all jointly accountable to each other.”

“Being accountable means that when you make a commitment you have to deliver a commitment. And Greece has made some commitments that have been discussed with eurozone members at the (European) Commission,” she said.

“I have absolute confidence that the Greek government, under the leadership of (Prime Minister Georges) Papandreou will put in place these measures” aimed at putting finances in order, added the French minister.

Similar concerns over other European countries such as Portugal, where the government is pushing through an austerity budget, added to pressure on the euro, dealers said.

Elsewhere, markets digested news that one in 10 workers across Europe’s core euro currency area is now unemployed, according to new European Union data issued on Friday that showed Spain bearing the brunt of a jobless recovery.

The human cost of structural economic adjustment post-recession could be seen when the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the 16 euro countries hit a miserable 10 percent in December.

The EU’s Eurostat agency estimated that an extra 87,000 people fell out of work in the weeks before Christmas — down from the 102,000 people joining the benefit queues in November.

It was the highest rate since the currency was launched a decade ago and up from a downwards-revised 9.9 percent in November.

Initial figures for November published earlier this month had pegged the eurozone rate at 10 percent.

In London on Friday, the euro was changing hands at 1.3965 dollars against 1.3966 dollars late on Thursday, at 125.95 yen (125.56), 0.8651 pounds (0.8654) and 1.4671 Swiss francs (1.4695).

The dollar stood at 90.24 yen (89.92) and 1.0511 Swiss francs (1.0520).

The pound was at 1.6135 dollars (1.6134).

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to 1,081.70 dollars an ounce from 1,088 dollars an ounce late on Thursday.

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