As Dollar Strengthens, U.S. Students in Europe Feel the Benefits
LONDON — The year started with a bang, and continued to a boom-stick-your-head-in-the-gutter kind of boom after the financial crisis. A major driver has been the strength of the U.S. dollar, and more recently the strengthening of the euro.
It seemed like any time you looked up at the sky and saw a blue dollar bill, or heard an animated American voice chanting, “I just bought a dollar,” you might have a flashback to September 2013, when the dollar stood at 73.82 U.S. cents, then closed at 76.22 cents in the next week.
Now the dollar is hovering near 80.50 cents on Thursday, up from 78.75 cents on July 19, as Europe’s economic difficulties start to show signs of easing. In the European Union, the euro is now trading at 1.1605 franc, up from 1.1245 franc on July 19, and is up from 1.1176 franc last week.
European finance ministers meeting earlier this month also pledged more support for bank lending, on top of the $111 billion in bailout funds that were approved in June.
European Central Bank vice-president Vitor Constancio said the euro zone would boost its firepower to ensure that financial markets can remain open for a longer period and that there is no need to worry whether the banks will remain solvent.
“We have discussed a package that includes the recapitalization of sovereigns and the provision of financing to the banking system but also includes the support to the euro area that’s already in the form of EFSF,” Constancio said at a press conference after the meeting.
The euro area had a debt to GDP ratio of 60 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2013 and by the end of the third quarter of 2014 stood at 57.4 percent, he said.
Meanwhile, British business has seen another year in growth and there has been some good news as well, although not all economists are so optimistic. The number of new business starts in Britain is expected to be at a record high in the third quarter,