BRUSSELS, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Finance ministers from the 13-nation bloc
sharing euro failed Monday to seek a tougher stance against the appreciation of
their single currency versus the US dollar, taking China's RMB as an easy
"We affirm that exchange rate should reflect economic fundamentals and that
excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates are undesirable for
economic growth," the eurozone finance ministers said in a statement after a
meeting here on Monday, which only repeated their previous words.
The ministers were attempting to find a common line for the euro zone in
the upcoming meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized countries
in Washington next week.
Ahead of the meeting, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who
heads the eurogroup of finance ministers, said the eurozone would "without a
doubt" step up pressure on finance chiefs from the G7 partners as the euro
hovered around its all-time high against the U.S. dollar recently.
The euro weakened but remained at its record level against the dollar
earlier on Monday on speculation of the outcome of the eurozone finance
ministers meeting. It peaked at a historical high of 1.4284 dollars last Monday,
driven by continued concerns about the massive U.S. trade and budget deficits,
and speculation of new U.S. interest rate cuts.
Some eurozone countries, led by France and Italy, stepped up their calls
for depreciation, complaining their exports are suffering and economies are
They had hoped to send a stronger message to other partners, especially the
United States, to curb the appreciation of the euro, which was virtually a
reflection of the continuous weakening of the dollar.
However, in presenting their common position for the G7 meeting, the
finance ministers only agreed to say "we have noted with great attention that
the U.S. authorities have reaffirmed that a strong dollar is in the interest of
the U.S. economy."
The tone was obviously much softer than expected.
"We had a lengthy debate," Juncker told reporters after the meeting which
dragged into deep night of Monday due to the sharp difference among member
Despite France's call, Germany, the biggest economy in the eurozone and
also a G7 member, has been in support for a strong euro.
"I prefer a strong euro," German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told
reporters on arrival for the meeting with his eurozone counterparts, making
clear his difference with France and Italy.
The Netherlands and Austria took a similar line with Germany.
Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos said "the whole idea of the strong euro
means that people have confidence" in the economy and Austria's Wilhelm Molterer
said "the ECB has our full support."
Instead, the finance ministers unexpectedly singled out China as an easy
target, pressing the emerging economy to do more to make its currency RMB more
"In emerging economies with large and growing current account surpluses,
especially China, it is desirable that their effective exchange rates move so
that necessary adjustments will occur," they said.
Juncker said he and President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude
Trichet, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia would
lead a delegation to China for a dialogue on macroeconomic policies before the
end of this year.
On the Japanese yen, the finance ministers also expressed concerns that it
too was undervalued.
"As stated by the Japanese authorities, the Japanese economy is on a
sustainable recovery path. These developments should be recognized by market
participants and be incorporated in their assessments of risks," they said in
"We note that the euro area is playing its role for an orderly reduction of
the imbalances by implementing structural reforms and contributing to a
rebalancing of growth," they added.