Dollar sets record low against the euro after Carlyle Group fund defaults on $16.6 billion of debt; Gold hits record high as investors seek shelter.

Published in original form on March 13 by Bloomberg.com (see entire article by clicking here):

“– The dollar fell below 100 yen earlier today for the first time since 1995 and set a record low against the euro after a Carlyle Group fund defaulted on about $16.6 billion of debt, adding to turmoil in financial markets.

The dollar fell to almost one-for-one with the Swiss franc and slumped against the British pound. The drop came as Carlyle said lenders will seize the assets of its mortgage-bond fund, a day after Drake Management LLC said it may shut its largest hedge fund, spurring concern that losses will widen. The tumble in the world’s reserve currency drove gold to a record above $1,000 an ounce as investors sought shelter in the metal.

“The weakening, in reality, is a reflection on how the world is measuring the U.S.,” said Thomas Sowanick, who helps manage $10 billion as chief investment officer of Clearbrook Financial LLC in Princeton, New Jersey. “Until there is a unified central bank effort to support the dollar, the path of least resistance will be down.”

The dollar fell to 99.77 yen, the lowest since October 1995, before trading at 100.68 at 4:20 p.m. in New York, from 101.79 yesterday. The dollar touched $1.5626 per euro, the weakest since the European currency’s debut in 1999, and was at $1.5622, from $1.5551. It slid to a record 1.0045 Swiss francs. Japan’s currency advanced to 157.27 per euro, from 158.30.

The U.S. currency fell against a basket of six major trading partners to the lowest since the index began in 1973. The Dollar Index traded on ICE Futures in New York declined as low as 71.795. The dollar dropped to $2.0320 per pound from $2.0270, touching the weakest since December.

`So Many Holes’

The dollar pared its losses as stocks reversed a decline, after Standard & Poor’s said the end of subprime-related losses is “in sight” for large financial institutions. The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent, after earlier losing as much as 2 percent.

“The dollar is trying to find a floor here,” said Alan Kabbani, a senior currency trader at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The boat has so many holes that it takes a while to fix it.”

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson reiterated support today for a “strong dollar” that reflects economic fundamentals, after President George W. Bush yesterday said the U.S. currency’s drop was not “good tidings.”

Person George W. Bush
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