The euro advanced for a third day versus the dollar as Portugal’s borrowing costs fell at an auction and on speculation European leaders are considering an expansion of aid for nations struggling to finance their debt.
Portugal sold 599 million euros ($778 million) of bonds due in 2020 at a yield of 6.716 percent, the country’s debt management agency said today. That compares with 6.806 percent at the previous auction on Nov. 10. Investors asked for 3.2 times the amount of 10-year bonds sold, up from 2.1 times at the November sale. Spain and Italy will sell bonds tomorrow.
The 17-nation currency rose against most of its major counterparts as investors exited bets that it would weaken before a meeting of euro-area finance ministers next week.
“This is a case of taking back euro shorts,” said Alan Ruskin, global head of Group-of-10 foreign-exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank AG in New York. “There’s a natural inclination to be cautious in terms of not wanting to be too heavily exposed on the short euro side.”
European leaders are contemplating aid for Portugal, debt buybacks, lower interest rates on rescue loans and guarantees against excessive debt, according to two people with direct knowledge of the talks.
The plan, which may include a loan to Portugal of about 60 billion euros ($78 billion) and purchases of outstanding Greek debt, would mark an attempt to contain the crisis that has frustrated unprecedented efforts by policy makers to calm markets and raised questions on the health of the euro economy.
Euro-area finance ministers will discuss elements of the package next week, though the debate is so sensitive in Germany that decisions may wait until a scheduled summit of political leaders on Feb. 4, said the people, who declined to be named because the deliberations are private.
Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that Germany is ready to revise the terms of a 750 billion-euro ($973 billion) rescue fund for indebted states, saying Europe’s biggest economy will do whatever is necessary to protect the euro.
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