Japan's currency gained most versus the Brazilian real and the South African rand as commodities fell after China reported the slowest growth in imports since June 2007. The yen strengthened to 124.50 per euro as of 6:42 a.m. in New York, from 124.95 yesterday. It advanced to 97.75 per dollar, from 98.00. The euro was at $1.2739, from $1.2748.
The pound dropped to an all-time low against the euro amid further evidence of a housing slump. The currecy fell to a record low against the euro after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said U.K. home sales declined to the lowest level in at least three decades. The British currency slipped to an all-time low of 82.15 pence per euro, from 81.67 pence yesterday.
The euro declined versus the dollar as traders increased bets the European Central Bank will reduce its 3.25 percent rate in the first quarter of next year to kickstart economic growth. The implied yield on Euribor futures contracts expiring in March fell to 2.86 percent yesterday, from 3.005 percent on Nov. 7. The ECB benchmark is 0.39 percentage point higher than the Euribor contract yield, compared with a 12-month average of 19 basis points below the futures rate.
The euro strengthened earlier following a report showing German investor confidence unexpectedly rose in November as governments and central banks stepped up efforts to fight the turmoil on financial markets. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research said its index of investor and analyst expectations increased to minus 53.5, from minus 63 in October.
The Russian ruble fell the most in at least a month versus the central bank's dollar-euro basket as traders speculated the central bank is allowing it to weaken.The ruble declined 1 percent versus the currency basket that the central bank uses to manage its fluctuations. The basket consists of about 55 percent dollars and 45 percent euros.