Euro-area finance ministers try for the third time this month to clear an aid payment to Greece and forge a blueprint to keep the country a solvent member of the currency bloc. Finance chiefs from the 17-member single currency return to Brussels today, less than a week after an all-night meeting failed to yield agreement and days after a European Union summit broke up without a proposed seven-year budget.
At stake at the euro meeting is the continuation of a three-year mission to return Greece to financial health. Germany’s bunds fell for the first week in five as optimism European leaders are taking steps to stem Greece’s fiscal crisis damped demand for the euro-area’s safest assets. The euro was little changed at $1.2962 from $1.2976 on November 23, when it reached $1.2991, the strongest since October 31.
U.K. gilts fell for the first time in five weeks as Bank of England minutes signaled policy makers won’t cut interest rates and showed they voted 8-1 to halt their asset-purchase program, or quantitative easing, this month. The pound strengthened against the dollar, set for its first weekly advance in a month, after a British Bankers Association report showed mortgage approvals rose to a nine-month high in October.
The U.K. currency fell to its weakest level in four weeks against the euro before European finance ministers meet on November 26 to find a way to plug Greece’s budget shortfall. The pound advanced 0.6 percent to $1.6030, The U.K. currency is set for a 0.9 percent weekly gain. Sterling was little changed at 80.87 pence per euro.
The yen weakened against all 16 major peers after minutes of last month’s Bank of Japan (8301) policy meeting showed members calling for powerful monetary easing. The Japanese currency fell to an almost seven-month low against the euro before Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and opposition leader Shinzo Abe hold a November 29 debate prior to next month’s lower-house elections.
It’s possible that the BOJ will announce additional stimulus before year-end. The yen may weaken further. The yen touched 107.14 per euro, the lowest level since April 27; The Japanese currency lost 0.2 percent to 82.58 per dollar from the end of last week, when it completed a 1.3 percent five-day decline.
Canada’s inflation rate remained near the bottom of the central bank’s target band for a third month in October as slower gains in energy prices blunted increases in property taxes and restaurant meals. The consumer price index rose 1.2 percent in October from a year ago, the same as the prior two months. The Bank of Canada has held its key lending rate at 1 percent for more than two years and says that inflation will remain below its 2 percent target until the end of next year. The Canadian dollar was little changed after the report, trading at 99.72 cents per U.S. dollar.