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Romanian Leu Falls 2nd Day as US Contraction Hurts Risk Appetite

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Romania’s leu weakened for a second day, narrowing this month’s gain, after data on a stalled U.S. economy hurt appetite for riskier emerging-market assets.

The leu depreciated 0.3 percent to 4.3960 per euro by 11:06 a.m. in Bucharest, trimming its advance in January to 1.3 percent, still the best among emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Yields on euro-denominated bonds due 2019 rose one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, at 3.94 percent.

Gross domestic product shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department said yesterday. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he isn’t close to easing up on $85 billion in monthly bond purchases to spur the economy and bring down a 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

“The eastern European currencies slipped into the red on the back of disappointing fourth quarter U.S. GDP data, denting risk appetite,” analysts at Bucharest-based BRD-Groupe Societe Generale SA wrote in a note today. “The leu went into retreat yesterday and continues to err on the weaker side.”

Emerging-market stocks fell for a second day, paring a monthly advance, after the U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted and earnings from China Shipping Development Co. to Macronix International Co. disappointed investors.

The analysts expect the leu to remain in a range of 4.37 per euro to 4.40 per euro today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net; Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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