Banks step in to support Euro

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The Independent Online

The European Central Bank and its British, U.S. and Japanese counterparts jointly intervened in the currency markets today in an attempt to shore up the ailing euro.

The European Central Bank and its British, U.S. and Japanese counterparts jointly intervened in the currency markets today in an attempt to shore up the ailing euro.

The ECB, British Treasury, US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan acted because they were worried that the persistent weakness of the 11-nation European currency could hurt the global economy.

A statement from the European bank said: "On the initiative of the European Central Bank, monetary authorities of the United States and Japan joined with the European Central Bank in concerted intervention in exchange markets because of their shared concern about the potential implications of recent movements in the euro exchange rates for the world economy," the statement said.

An ECB spokesman refused to give figures for what amount of euros the central banks bought or any other details of the intervention.

The Treasury announced later that it was also involved in the support operation. A statement said it shared the concerns that in recent weeks the European single currency had fallen to unacceptable lows.

The exchange rate has fallen from around 1.15 to the US dollar in January 1999 to 0.88 today.

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