Timeline: Milestones in euro’s history since 1999

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – The euro tumbled to a 4-year low versus the dollar on Monday as fears escalate that planned belt-tightening measures would hit euro zone growth, fuelling concerns that the currency may face a further decline.

A 750 billion euro aid package from the European Union and the International Monetary fund announced the previous week had shored up confidence in bond markets, but failed to underpin the currency.

Traders fear austerity measures announced by Greece, Spain and Portugal to tackle their huge financial deficits would hurt growth in the near term and force the European Central Bank to keep interest rates low in the medium term.

The euro took out the October 2008 low around $1.2330 in Asia and fell as low as $1.2234, its lowest since April 2006.

It has fallen more than 7 percent against the dollar this month, and is about 14 percent lower for the year, making it the worst-performing major currency this year.

Following is a snapshot of the euro’s performance against the U.S. dollar since its launch in January 1999:

* May 17, 2010 – Euro tumbles to a 4-year low versus the dollar of $1.2234 as fears grow that planned belt-tightening measures would hit euro zone growth.

* May 10, 2010 – Euro rallies more than 2 percent at one point from the previous week’s 14-month low after policymakers hammer out a $1 trillion emergency package and bond buying by euro zone central banks.

* May 6, 2010 – Euro falls to a 14-month low of $1.2510 as risks of contagion from the Greek debt crisis rock global markets. Euro falls 10 yen on the day from 120 yen to a 110 handle as U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) drop close to 10 percent, though traders attribute the move in equities to a technical glitch.

* May 3, 2010 – Euro falls, erasing initial gains made after European countries agreed to a 110 billion euro aid package for Greece over the weekend, on uncertainty over how it would be activated. Euro ends down around 1 percent at $1.3190.

* April 27, 2010 – Euro falls more than 1.5 percent after Standard and Poor’s slashed Greek debt to junk status.

* Dec 8, 2009 – Euro hits one-month low of $1.4679 as S&P downgrades Greece to BBB+ from A-, the first time in 10 years a major ratings agency has put the country below an A grade.

* Nov 25, 2009 – Euro rallies to 2009 high of $1.5144 in thin pre-Thanksgiving trade as upbeat U.S. data on jobs, spending and housing boost risk appetite.

* March 18, 2009 – Euro jumps 3.9 percent versus dollar, the biggest 1-day percentage gain since the euro’s 1999 launch as the Fed says it will buy $300 billion of long-dated Treasuries to boost the economy.

* Dec 19, 2008 – Euro rises after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero to 0.25 percent, the lowest on record. Euro hits near three-month high of $1.4719.

* September/October 2008 – Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, while the government bails out insurer AIG. Investors flock to safe-haven status of dollar and yen. Euro to a low of $1.2328 on Oct 28 from $1.4825 on Sept 22.

* April 22, 2008 – Euro scales $1.60 for the first time to trade as high as $1.6018, representing a near doubling in its value from its all-time low of $0.8225 in 2000.

* Feb 27, 2008 – Euro trades above the key psychological $1.50 barrier, after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled the central bank was ready to cut rates again in the face of mounting risks to economic growth.

* Sept 20, 2007 – Euro breaks above the psychological $1.40 level for the first time, continuing its rally since the Fed slashed its fed funds and discount rates by 50 basis points on Sept 18 to shield the economy from the unfolding credit crisis.

* November 2006 – Euro breaks back above $1.30 for first time in 18 months as signs of a strong German economic recovery boosts ECB rate rise expectations.

* Dec 1, 2005 – ECB raises key rates by a quarter percentage point from record low of 2 percent, the first in a series of hikes that takes rates as high as 3.75 percent by March 2007. Euro closes at $1.1732.

* Dec 30, 2004 – Euro trades at $1.3670, according to EBS data, after the dollar is hit by a wave of concern about the ballooning U.S. current account deficit. ECB Trichet warns markets that “brutal” moves in exchange rates were unwelcome.

* June 30, 2004 – Fed raises rates by a quarter percentage point from record low of 1 percent, the first in a series of hikes that take rates as high as 5.25 percent by June 2006. Euro closes at $1.2185.

* Sept 20, 2003 – G7 finance chiefs call for “more flexibility” in exchange rates to ease growing international imbalances – interpreted as a sign G7 wants to see a weaker dollar to ease global imbalances. The euro closes at $1.1465 on Sept 22, having traded as low as $1.0760 earlier in the month.

* June 28, 2002 – Euro rises back above $1.00. Pressure on the dollar intensifies following months of concern about corporate accounting scandals from Enron to WorldCom.

* Jan 2, 2002 – Euro gains one percent to rise over $0.90 in a wave of enthusiasm inspired by the smooth introduction of euro notes and coins in the then 12 countries of the euro zone.

* Sept 11, 2001 – Two hijacked planes hit twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Euro rises two percent to $0.9169.

* May 10, 2001 – ECB cuts key rates by a quarter percentage point to 4.5 percent, the first in a series of 7 cuts that takes rates down to a record low of 2 percent by June 2003. Euro closes at $0.8812.

* Nov 10, Nov 6, Nov 3, 2000 – ECB in conjunction with national euro zone central banks intervenes to buy euros, leaving the euro trading around $0.86.

* Oct 26, 2000 – Euro hits record low of $0.8225, 30 percent below its launch value.

* Sept 22, 2000 – Central banks in Europe, Japan and the United States, intervene to drive euro higher after currency hits low below $0.85 two days earlier.

* Dec 2, 1999 – Euro falls to one-for-one with the dollar for the first time. European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg says euro has strong potential to appreciate.

* Jan 4, 1999 – Euro begins trading at $1.1747, hitting a high of $1.1906 on the same day.

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Timeline: Milestones in euro’s history since 1999