The dollar continued its assault against the euro on Friday as traders remained unsure about the direction euro area policy makers are preparing to take in order to stem the tide of economic weakness.
Speaking in Tokyo Friday, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet failed to ease fears of division amongst ECB members.
Trichet said public authorities, executive branches, and central banks must do everything possible to restore confidence and support growth. Trichet cautioned that ambiguity in policy direction will delay recovery, but with Axel Weber, member of the Governing Council, saying earlier in the week that he's against cutting the key rate below one percent, most analysts are skeptical of a drastic rate cut from 1.25 percent.
The dollar jumped to 1.3020 versus the euro, extending this week's steady gains. With the advance, the dollar reached its highest level in a month, and moved back towards last autumn's multi-year high of 1.2328.
The dollar also managed to firm up versus the sterling, rising to 1.4770. The dollar has been able to stabilize since hitting a January low of 1.5068 earlier this week.
Against the yen, the dollar continued its run of choppy trading near the century mark. The buck hovered between 99 and 100 on Friday, having leveled off since hitting a multi-month high of 101.43 last week. Just three months ago, the dollar was sitting at 13-year low of 87.08 yen, but has risen on doubts about Japan's capacity to recover from the global recession.
Friday, Japanese consumer confidence rose to a five-month high in March. Meanwhile, however, the Bank of Japan lowered its assessment in seven of the country's nine regions.
On the economic front in the US, the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for April rose to 61.9, a substantial increase from the previous reading. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 58.5 from 57.3 in March.
In speech earlier in the day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered his support to financial innovation, despite the fact that some of these new products have contributed to the current economic crisis. Bernanke argued that increased regulation would be a better response than eliminating innovation.
Speaking at the Federal Reserve System's Sixth Biennial Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington, D.C., Bernanke noted that while financial innovation can misfire, more often the benefits outweigh the downside.
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