Euro up against dollar on Mid-East tensions


The euro pushed through the 0.88 level against the dollar in late trade as concerns mounted over the escalating violence in the Middle East, dealers said. "The market's closely watching the Middle East situation," Mr Steve Barrow, currency strategist at Bear Stearns said.

"It's giving some support to the euro and helping the Swiss franc," Mr Barrow said.

The euro also derived some support from the euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers' index for March which suggested a bottoming out in the sector, laying the foundations for a more significant recovery in the second half of the year.

The PMI numbers were "reasonably good", Mr Barrow said.

"The euro rose above 0.88 level (against the dollar) on demand at the start of the North American session," Mr Will Rugg of Standard & Poor's MMS, but he noted that it is a quiet session, as people return to their desks after the Easter break.

The yen lost ground against the euro and sterling as investors refocused on the Japanese economy's gloomy fundamentals following the end of the fiscal year.