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EU Ministers Debate Currencies As G7 Gives Warning

Marc Ostwald, market strategist at Monument Securities, suggested the G-7 statement was intended to take foreign exchange matters off the table at the G-20 meeting.

However, he said domestic policies in places such as Japan have spillover effects into foreign exchange markets, "so one might well argue that this is a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees."

Arriving Tuesday for a meeting of the 27 EU finance ministers, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said there would be discussions about what might be discussed at the G-20 meeting. Several EU finance ministers, including those from France, Germany and Italy and Spain, will make the trip to Moscow. The EU will also be represented there.

"I think all this debate about the relative value of currencies is going to be an issue at the G-20 but we're coming through a period where the concern was the volatility of the euro," Noonan said. "It's a bit soon to argue that it's too strong."

Noonan said he wouldn't support any proposals that the ECB should intervene in the markets to get the value of the euro down.

Nevertheless, there are growing fears that a currency war may be in the offing. Such talk conjures up images of the 1930s when countries engaged in tit-for-tat depreciations â¿¿ the outcome was to decimate world trade and prolong a depression.

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici has been one of those that have expressed some discomfort over the recent appreciation of the euro. However, on his way in to Tuesday's meeting, he said his priority was making sure that Europe does not remain "an area of long-lasting ??low growth and high unemployment."

He said what is needed is balanced policiesâ¿¿ continuing budgetary consolidation while remaining aware of the effects of austerity. The G-20, he added, can be a forum for global coordination.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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