The euro reached the highest level in almost two weeks against the dollar as Greece won parliamentary approval for a new international bailout, boosting demand for the region’s assets.
The 17-nation currency advanced versus all except two of its 16 major peers tracked by Bloomberg before reports tomorrow forecast to show German services and factory output expanded. The dollar touched a one-week low against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testifies to U.S. lawmakers. The pound dropped versus the euro after minutes of the Bank of England’s meeting showed two policy makers supported more stimulus.
“It has been slow, but the euro has been pushing higher,” said Jane Foley, a senior currency strategist at Rabobank International in London. “Many people have been waiting for the bad news to hit again, and it sort of hasn’t, so people are getting impatient with betting against the euro.”
The euro appreciated 0.1 percent to $1.3242 at 7:35 a.m. New York time. It earlier climbed to $1.3285, the highest level since March 8. The shared currency gained 0.5 percent to 111.26 yen after reaching 111.44, the strongest since Oct. 31. The yen dropped 0.3 percent to 83.95 per dollar.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s Dollar Index (DXY), used to track the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners including the euro, yen and pound, was little changed at 79.56 after touching 79.32, the lowest level since March 9.
Implied volatility of three-month options of Group of Seven currencies was at 10.01 percent after touching 10.72 last week, its highest level since Feb. 16, according to the JPMorgan Morgan Chase & Co. G7 Volatility Index.
Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won approval for a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) aid package. A total of 213 lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation and 79 against, Acting Parliament Speaker Grigoris Niotis said in remarks carried live on state-run Vouli TV.
Europe must further strengthen its banks, and its financial and economic situation “remains difficult” even as stresses have lessened, Bernanke said in the text of testimony prepared for delivery to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Bernanke said reduced stress is a “welcome development” for the U.S., according to the remarks, which echoed the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement last week that “strains in global financial markets have eased.”
The euro also gained before London-based Markit Economics releases purchasing managers’ indexes tomorrow for German manufacturing and services. The measure of factory output climbed to 51 this month from 50.2 in February, while the gauge of services rose to 53.1 from 52.8, according to Bloomberg News surveys of economists. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The shared currency appreciated 0.8 percent in the past month, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes, which track 10 developed-nation currencies. The dollar advanced 0.7 percent, the yen weakened 5 percent, and sterling gained 1.3 percent.
The pound dropped for a third day against the euro as minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s March 7-8 meeting showed that the policy makers Adam Posen and David Miles wanted to increase the target for bond purchases by 25 billion pounds ($40 billion) to 350 billion pounds. The seven remaining members voted to keep the current 325 billion-pound target.
Sterling also depreciated as Britain’s budget deficit almost doubled in February as taxes fell and spending surged, leaving Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne with little room to meet his full-year goal as he prepares to announce the annual budget today.
Net borrowing excluding support for banks was 15.2 billion pounds, the highest for any February on record, compared with 8.9 billion pounds a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. There was a public-sector net cash requirement, or PSNCR, of negative 7.8 billion pounds.
“The combination of a nasty looking PSNCR right ahead of the budget plus dovishness from the MPC minutes with respect to credit conditions, those two together are certainly enough to weaken sterling,” said Peter Frank, global foreign-exchange strategist at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA in London. “The big one is going to be the budget. What it needs for sterling to rally is clear cut fiscal stimulus within the budget.”
Sterling fell 0.1 percent 83.44 pence per euro. It was little changed versus the greenback at $1.5876.