• By The Financial District


The euro fell below the key rate of 1.20 per dollar on Thursday, for the first time since the beginning of December, amid growing concerns about the currency bloc's chaotic roll-out of a coronavirus vaccination program, Andrew McCathie reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).

The common currency fell to 1.1983 dollars in European trading after the greenback was boosted by hopes of a US economic rebound, following moves towards vaccinating that nation's population. "There is a lot to suggest that the US is coming out of the crisis better than the eurozone," said Commerzbank currency analyst You-Na Park-Heger. "So who wants to bet on a rising euro right now?"

Last month, the euro climbed to 1.2349 dollars - its highest level since April 2018, in part a result of the political uncertainty in the US prompted by former US President Donald Trump's unproven claims of election fraud.

The market's new, somewhat more downbeat, view of the euro followed the release on Thursday of disappointing retail sales figures for the 19-member eurozone, with the service sector hit hard by the launch of tough lockdown measures across the currency bloc.

Monthly retail sales rose by 2 percent in December, the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said, helped by strong online business.

Total December sales, however, fell short of the 2.8-percent gain forecast by economists, after a plunge of 5.7 per cent in November.