Euro up amid eurozone rate hike expectations

SINGAPORE, April 4, 2011 (AFP) – The euro strengthened against the dollar in Asia on Monday as investors moved into the single currency before an expected interest rate hike by the region’s central bank, analysts said. The euro bought $1.4227 in afternoon Asian trade, up from $1.4225 late Friday in New York. It changed hands at 119.67 yen from 119.49.

“The ECB (European Central Bank) is set to hike interest rates at its monetary policy meeting on April 7,” said DBS Group Research in a report.

“With the Fed still not expected to hike rates until late 2011, euro/US dollar should continue to appreciate from a widening interest rate differential in favour of the single currency,” it added.

ECB rate hikes would offer higher returns on investments compared with the ultra-low interest rates set by the US Federal Reserve. The United States is struggling to curtail a soaring budget deficit.

Intransigence over spending cuts to rein in the deficit by US policymakers, which could lead to a government shutdown after current funds expire on April 8, was also weighing on the greenback against the euro, DBS stated.

“There are still no concrete signs that the US budget impasse has been resolved… a government