The euro’s 8.4 percent gain against the U.S. dollar in the past six months is posing a fresh threat to the European economy just as it shows signs of escaping the debt crisis, said Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers.
Echoing policy makers from Switzerland to Japan in bemoaning strong exchange rates, Juncker late yesterday called the euro’s value “dangerously high” after the 17-nation currency this week traded above $1.34 against the dollar for the first time since February last year.
The euro has rallied amid growing signs in financial markets that the three-year debt turmoil is fading and after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last week signaled no immediate plan to ease monetary policy further.
“It was said last year that the euro zone was at risk of breaking and I said last year that this won’t happen,” Juncker, who steps down this month as head of the so-called eurogroup, told an annual gathering of business leaders in Luxembourg. “The euro zone has become more stable after lots of efforts,” Juncker said, adding that now “the euro foreign-exchange rate is dangerously high.”
The European currency dropped as much as 0.9 percent after Juncker’s comments, the biggest intraday decline since Jan. 3. The euro traded at $1.3306 at 5 p.m. New York time, down 0.6 percent. It touched an intraday high of $1.3404 on Jan. 14, the strongest since Feb. 29, 2012.