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Euro strengthens as economy fears dwindle

Published:Tuesday | March 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

New York, United States (AP):

The dollar was mixed against major currencies but slid versus the euro Monday after European leaders said they would back Greece through a debt crisis that has jeopardised the common currency.

The 16-nation euro rose to $1.3633 in late trading from $1.3624 late Friday. The euro traded above $1.37 last week for the first time since mid-February as worries about swollen European budget deficits eased somewhat.

The British pound dropped to $1.5072 from $1.5157, while the dollar dipped to 90.32 Japanese yen from 90.38 yen.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy over the weekend. Germany and France, Europe's biggest economies, both say they will help Greece through its budget problems, though they have not provided more details.

Greece announced austerity measures last week and also held a successful bond sale to manage its huge debt load. On Monday, Portugal said it was planning to cut welfare benefits while selling assets and raising taxes in order to shore up its finances.

Greece and Portugal are among the countries whose large debt levels have hurt the euro in recent months, threatening the stability of the union of the 16 countries using the single currency.