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EU ministers blame US for "unwelcome" currency fluctuations

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EU ministers blame US for "unwelcome" currency fluctuations

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The 12 euro zone nations are pointing the finger of blame at the United States over sharp currency swings that have driven the euro to record highs. Their finance ministers, the European Commission and the European Central Bank unanimously agreed in Brussels that recent currency moves could further undermine their stuttering economic recovery.

Gerrit Zalm, who chairs the so-called eurogroup, said: “As far as the exchange rate is concerned, ministers agreed that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates are undesirable for economic growth. In this context recent sharp moves of exchange rates are unwelcome.” Zalm said there had been no pressure on the European Central Bank to intervene in currency markets to halt the euro’s rise. The euro passed the $1.30 mark last week and was trading last night at $1.2943. Earlier on Monday, European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia asked Washington to put its money where its mouth is. That was after US Treasury Secretary John Snow repeated a long-standing mantra that the administration backed a strong dollar because it was in America’s interest.