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Some central banks eye loonie vs. the euro

Canadian dollar coins.


These are stories Report on Business is following Monday, June 4.

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Emerging markets eye loonie
Central banks in emerging economies are shying away from the euro amid the debt crisis, and moving into other currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars, The Financial Times reports today.

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Those central banks are trying to defend their own currencies as the euro turmoil grows along with the escalating crisis in the 17-member monetary union.

The newspaper quoted currency traders as saying central banks have been selling the euro, as have hedge funds and institutional groups.

"The most recent bout of euro concerns has cooled central bank ardour for the euro considerably," said a Citigroup foreign exchange strategist, according to the report.

"At times when the [U.S.] dollar is weak, central banks around the world buy dollars to limit appreciation by their own currencies, and for some reason then sell dollars to re-balance reserves into euros," said Kit Juckes, the chief of foreign exchange at Société Générale.

"But when the dollar is strong, and reserve managers are either not intervening, or supporting their currencies, they sell the euro," he said in a report today.

"This selling by reserve managers comes against a backdrop where [Commodities Futures Trading Commission] data continues to show a series of record euro shorts by speculators on the [International Monetary Market]. If for some strange reason, the euro were to find some reason to bounce, the potential for a euro squeeze to accelerate upwards is clear. But there is no visible reason for that."

Is Merkel softening?
Germany is sending out feelers about possibly softening its stance to measures that could ease the burden on the stressed members of the euro zone, The Wall Street Journal reports today.

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It's hardly firm, and it would come with its own issues, but the report quotes German officials as saying they could in time get behind the idea of a common euro zone bond or some type of group support for ailing banks. But only if the stressed governments cede more control to the monetary union, an issue of sovereignty.

"The more that other member states get involved with this development and are prepared to give up sovereign rights to get European institutions more involved, the more we will be prepared to play an active role in developing things like a banking union," one official told the news organization.

Publicly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to oppose such concepts despite the clamour of others such as the European Commission.

"The EC is in favour of euro bonds or a hybrid solution, while Merkel hardened her opposition to the concept with comments into the weekend that 'under no circumstances' would she support euro bonds," said Derek Holt and Dov Zigler of Scotia Capital.

"She emphasized the need for Europe to address its lack of competitiveness instead of the tendency for some to 'come along and ask for eurobonds, saying all we need are equal interest rates and everything will turn out all right.'"

Cameco gives up on Argentina project
Cameco Corp, the world's largest publicly traded uranium producer, has decided not to proceed with a joint venture exploration project in its third year in Argentina, marking the latest pullback by a major miner from investing in the Andean nation, The Globe and Mail's Pav Jordan reports.

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According to a statement from partner Calypso Uranium Corp, Cameco made the decision due to a strategic shift in the regions and projects where it will focus its exploration efforts.

"Calypso announced the company has been provided with notice by Cameco Global Exploration Ltd. that Cameco will not be exercising its right to proceed with the third year of the option agreement among Cameco, Calypso, and Calypso's wholly owned subsidiary Energia Mineral Inc.," Calypso said in a statement.

Efforts by Argentina to fine-tune its economy in recent months are worrying companies mining and exploring in the mineral-rich nation, forcing many to reassess investments in its massive gold, copper and other resource deposits.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More


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