The dollar was headed for its biggest weekly loss since September against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners as consumer confidence unexpectedly fell and retail sales rose less than economists forecast.
The euro pared its weekly rally versus the dollar as Fitch Ratings cut Greece’s debt to junk.
“The sentiment is already kind of negative for the U.S. dollar,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst in Washington at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc., a currency brokerage. “It’s less positive than we’ve seen.”
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer confidence dropped to 72.7 this month from 74.5 in December. The median forecast of economists was for an increase to 75.5.
Sales at U.S. retailers gained 0.6% in December after advancing 0.8% in the previous month, the Commerce Department reported. The median forecast of economists was for a 0.8% gain.
European finance ministers will assemble a “comprehensive package” to tackle the crisis by March and discuss details of the “ambitious” program when they meet in Brussels next week, Germany’s Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday. Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated this week the government’s desire to do “whatever is needed to support the euro.”
The 17-nation currency was supported as European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled yesterday he’s prepared to raise interest rates to contain inflation.
European inflation quickened to an annual pace of 2.2% in December from 1.9% in the previous month, the European Union’s statistics office said today. That’s the fastest since October 2008 and in line with a Jan. 4 estimate.
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