Germans getting jittery as euro continues to climb

FRANKFURT, Nov 25, 2007 (AFP) – Until recently, Germany has maintained an air of serenity as the euro spiked higher against other major currencies, even though exports are the motor of growth for the eurozone’s biggest economy.

That has begun to change however, as seen in particular through comments by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told the television news channel N24 last week that the single currency’s rising value was a double-edged sword.

“We are happy of course to have a solid currency. But for exports it naturally poses problems,” Merkel said.

“We are working on an international level so that currencies balance out against each other in a reasonable manner,” the German chancellor added.

Her comments were moderate in comparison with the alarmist tone of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but they marked a significant shift from German statements made previously as the single European currency pursued its steady climb.

The euro, which is approaching the symbolic level of 1.50 dollars, surpassed early this month the all time high set 12 years ago by Germany’s heritage currency, the deutsche mark, several German newspapers noted with concern.

Most German officials had appeared unconcerned by the p