The euro held most of its recent gains versus the dollar and hit a fresh monthly high against the yen on Thursday, as risk appetite picked up amid easing sovereign debt concerns.
Japan’s yen was down across the board on worries that impending monetary policy tightening in China will slow exports to the emerging giant.
In news out of Europe, The Financial Times Deutschland reported neighbors may allow Greece and Ireland to write off some of their debt burden using the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
Earlier this week, successful bond auctions for Spain and Portugal raised hopes that a full-blown sovereign debt crisis could be prevented.
The euro eased slightly versus the dollar today, to $1.3450 from Tuesday’s 2-month high of 1.3537.
Versus the yen, the euro rose to Y111.37, its highest since before Christmas. The single currency hit a weekly high of 0.8464 pounds versus its UK counterpart, and was holding steady near CHF 1.30 against the Swiss franc.
In economic news from around the globe, China said its gross domestic product expanded 9.8% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, faster than the third quarter’s 9.6% increase.
Beijing is likely to respond by rising interest rates in order to fight upward pressure on prices.
Here in the US, first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by much more than anticipated in the week ended January 15th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with jobless claims pulling back near the two-year low set in late December.
The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 404,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 441,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 420,000.