The euro fell the most against the dollar since 2001 after France and Belgium led a state-backed rescue of Dexia SA, as the widening financial crisis forces governments to prop up financial institutions across Europe.
The cost of borrowing in dollars and euros reached record highs today as banks' reluctance to lend at the end of the third quarter exacerbated the freeze in global credit markets. The dollar rose against the yen on speculation the U.S. Senate will salvage a $700 billion bank-bailout plan as early as tomorrow after Congress rejected it yesterday.
``The consensus is the U.S. banking system is a little bit further along in its exposure of its toxic assets,'' said Firas Askari, head currency trader at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto. ``It's a case of which is relatively worse. The dollar's going to benefit against the euro because Europe has more to expose.''
The euro tumbled 2.4 percent to $1.4092 at 5 p.m. in New York, from $1.4434 yesterday, the most since a 2.5 percent slide in January 2001. The currency dropped as much as 3 percent, the biggest intraday decline since its 1999 debut. The euro slid to 149.56 yen from 150.38. The yen weakened to 106.11 per dollar from 104.18, after reaching 103.54, the most since Sept. 16.
Implied volatility on one-month euro-dollar options rose to 16.9575 percent, or the highest in almost eight years. On Sept. 18, it reached 15.55 percent, the same level that triggered the Group of Seven nations to buy euros in 2000 to halt the 27 percent slide from its 1999 debut. The dollar had its biggest drop ever against the euro Sept. 22, falling 2.1 percent.