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Euro Holds Onto Weekly Loss as Ireland Denies Bailout Talk

The euro held onto its biggest weekly loss since August after Ireland denied it was seeking a rescue before tomorrow’s meeting of European finance chiefs.

Europe’s currency dropped against the Australian dollar after Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe said yesterday Ireland has no immediate need for cash. The so-called Aussie rose as Asian stocks advanced and traders bet last week’s decline to a two-week low was overdone. The greenback was near a five-week high versus the yen before data forecast to show U.S. retail sales rose for a fourth month.

“It’s easy to find faults about the euro when you think of bailout risks for some nations,” said Kazuyuki Kato, treasury department manager in Tokyo at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., a unit of Japan’s second-biggest bank. “People want to buy back the dollar, and selling the euro against it is an easy option.”

The 16-nation currency was at $1.370 as of 10:13 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.3691 in New York on Nov. 12, when it reached $1.3574, the lowest since Sept. 30. The euro was at 113.22 yen from 113.02 yen, after hitting 111.05 yen on Nov. 12, the weakest since Sept. 16. The dollar fetched 82.60 yen from 82.53 yen. It reached 82.80 yen on Nov. 10, the highest since Oct. 7.

The euro sank 2.4 percent against the dollar last week, the most since the five days ending Aug. 13. It fell to AZ$1.3875 today from AZ$1.3903 last week.

Record Spreads

A bailout hasn’t been discussed by Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Cabinet, O’Keeffe said yesterday on Dublin- based broadcaster RTE, refuting talk that there is a “crisis.”

“Ongoing contacts continue at official level with international colleagues in light of current market conditions,” an Ireland Finance Ministry spokesman said in an email. “Ireland has made no application for external support” and the government is “fully funded till well into 2011,” the spokesman said.

The yield difference, or spread, between Irish 10-year securities and comparable bunds reached 652 basis points last week, the highest ever. The spread between 10-year Portuguese notes and bunds rose to a record 484 basis points on Nov. 11.

U.S. retail sales gained 0.7 percent in October after rising 0.6 percent in September, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey before today’s data.

Japan’s GDP

Movement in the yen was limited after the Cabinet Office reported Japan’s gross domestic product. The economy grew an annualized 3.9 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30, the Cabinet said today. The median forecast of 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 2.5 percent increase.

Asia-Pacific leaders yesterday in Japan pledged to take “concrete steps” toward creating a regional free-trade agreement without setting a target for achieving that goal. Their meeting followed the Nov. 11-12 Group of 20 summit in Seoul that “opposed protectionist trade actions” while failing to agree on a remedy for trade and investment distortions.

Australia’s currency gained 0.3 percent to 98.79 U.S. cents as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index of regional shares advanced 0.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent.

“Equity strength is providing some support for the Aussie dollar,” said Tim Waterer , a foreign-exchange dealer at CMC Markets in Sydney. “We could see some bargain hunters stepping in with views of the Aussie getting back above parity.”

New Zealand’s dollar rose after a government report showed retail sales unexpectedly increased in the third quarter, bolstering the case for central bank to resume raising interest rates early next year.

The currency gained 0.1 percent to 77.40 U.S. cents

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