The euro topped $1.43 on Wednesday for the first time in more than a year, on the eve of a widely expected eurozone interest rate hike, while safe-haven gold hit another record peak.
The single currency surged as high as $1.4314 in early morning London trade, hitting the highest level since January 19, 2010, boosted by expectations that the European Central Bank "ECB" will lift rates on Thursday.
The shared unit later stood at $1.4289, up from $1.4221 late in New York on Tuesday. Against the Japanese currency, the euro leapt close to a one-year pinnacle at 121.97 yen.
"Speculation about the "ECB" rate decision tomorrow will be the main driver," said Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann.
ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet said last month that the bank's record low rate of 1.0 percent might be raised amid concern that inflation now at 2.6 percent could spiral out of control.
Subsequent comments by Trichet and other bank officials along with economic data have made a rate hike almost certain despite the Japanese crisis and unrest in the Middle East.
"Will Trichet signal if and how quickly the next rate hike will follow, will he give more concrete information about the intention to revert the expansionary liquidity policy?" asked Leuchtmann.
He added"Rumours abound and often this produces nonsensical results. We are likely to have an erratic trading day ahead of us."
In commodity markets, gold prices rocketed to a new record high at $1,459.07 per ounce.
The safe-haven precious metal attracted strong support from stubborn concerns over high inflation, geopolitical unrest and the weak dollar.
"Gold continued where it left off yesterday by hitting yet another record high of $1,459 as the usual mix of safe haven buying, inflation concerns and a weakish dollar helped it establish a base above $1,450," said Spread Co analyst Ian O'Sullivan.
"Silver is also shining, hitting another multi-decade high of $39.50. The landmark level of $40 also seems to be within grasp."
At the same time, the yen fell further on Wednesday, amid expectations the Bank of Japan will maintain easy monetary policy as counterparts such as the US Federal Reserve signal possible tightening.
The BoJ began a two-day meeting on Wednesday to assess its next step in soothing an economy ravaged by its biggest-ever recorded earthquake, a subsequent tsunami and a nuclear crisis.
Investors are also awaiting the Bank of England's latest monetary policy decision due Thursday. Most analysts expect the BoE to keep its key lending rate at a record-low 0.5 percent.
In London on Wednesday, the euro changed hands at $1.4289 against $1.4221 in New York late on Tuesday, at 121.45 yen "120.66", £0.8772 "0.8729" and 1.3111 Swiss francs "1.3160".
The dollar stood at 84.99 yen "84.84" and 0.9176 Swiss francs "0.9251".
The pound was at $1.6287 "1.6291".
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold jumped to $1,455.53 an ounce from $1,433.50 late Tuesday.