NEWYORK, May 19 -- The euro weakened for a second day to the lowest level in four years as Germany's ban on some speculative sales triggered concern Europe's debt crisis will worsen.
The euro slid to its least since April 2006 after Germany prohibited naked short-selling and speculating on European government bonds with credit-default swaps, and the Bank of Italy allowed lenders to exclude losses on government debt. New Zealand's dollar dropped a fourth day as central bank Governor Alan Bollard said a gradual currency depreciation was desirable.
"If you don't feel like you can sell bonds and equities in Europe, you're left with selling the euro to express a negative view," said Greg Gibbs, a foreign-exchange strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Sydney. The German ban "creates a view that the authorities sense bigger problems than what may appear on the surface, creating more nervousness and fear."
The euro fell to as low as $1.2144, the weakest since April 17, 2006, before trading at $1.2166 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.2202 yesterday in New York. It declined 0.6 percent to 111.86 yen. The dollar traded at 91.87 yen from 92.23 yen. New Zealand’s currency weakened 0.9 percent to 68.76 U.S. cents, near the least since March 5.
The German ban, which lasts until March 31, 2011, also applies to the shares of 10 banks and insurers including Allianz SE and Deutsche Bank AG, financial regulator BaFin said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The step was needed because of "exceptional volatility" in euro-area bonds, BaFin said.