Euro falls to brink of parity with US dollar

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Euro falls to brink of parity with US dollar

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All eyes are on the euro this morning as the single currency falls to the brink of parity with the US dollar for the first time in two decades.

Anxiety over poor European growth and rising fears that Russia might turn off gas supplies are weakening the euro.

Russia shut down the single biggest pipeline carrying gas to Germany on Monday for annual maintenance. The Nord Stream 1 shutdown is expected to last for 10 days, but governments, markets and companies are worried that the Nord Stream 1 shutdown will be extended because of the war in Ukraine.

If Vladimir Putin decides to turn off gas supplies to Europe this winter, countries such as Germany could face gas rationing - potentially forcing industries to suspend work and leaving families struggling to heat their homes.

Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index, says :

Robert Habeck, Germany's economy minister, warned on Saturday of the horror scenario of a halt to the flow of Russian gas.

Everything is possible, everything can happen, Habeck told Germanyfunk: "Everything is possible, everything can happen."

It could be that the gas flows again, maybe more than before. It can be the case that nothing comes. We need to prepare for the worst-case scenario and do our best to deal with it. Surging energy prices and supply chain disruption caused by the Ukraine war had already threatened to push Europe into a recession.

Investors are concerned that a growing number of Chinese cities, including the commercial hub of Shanghai, are bringing in new restrictions to combat outbreaks of the highly-transmissible Omicron subvariant.

That could prompt more aggressive interest rate rises, strengthening the US currency, especially after a better than expected American jobs report last Friday that calmed recession worries.