The euro advanced for the first time in five weeks against the US dollar as six central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, acted to make more funds available to lenders to keep Europe’s debt crisis from deepening.
Gains in the shared currency were tempered by concern a summit of European leaders next week would not be able to stem the two-year-old crisis that began in Greece. South Africa’s rand was the best performer among the US dollar’s 16 most-traded peers as stocks and commodities rebounded from two weeks of losses. The greenback and the yen were the biggest losers as demand for safety faded.
“The overall hope is that by Friday we’ll be able to get a lot more financial monetary stimulus and a comprehensive plan to save Europe,” Richard Franulovich, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in New York, said on Friday. “You have a huge week next week.”
The euro rose 1.2 percent to US$1.3391 on Friday, its first weekly gain since the five days ended Oct. 28. It advanced from a seven-week low of US$1.3212 that was reached on Nov. 25 as investors avoided risk. The 17-nation currency strengthened 1.5 percent versus the yen to 104.43 in its first weekly advance since Nov. 4. The US dollar gained for a second week against the yen, rising 0.3 percent to ￥77.90.
South Africa’s rand appreciated 6.2 percent to 8.0437 in its biggest weekly gain since February 2009.
The Swiss franc declined versus the euro as Switzerland said it might consider additional steps to support the central bank in its fight to curb the currency’s gains. The franc slipped 0.2 percent to 1.2342 per euro.