$1.50 Euro Sparks Biz Plea for Help

Pricey currency crushing competition for European industry
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2008 4:39 AM CST
The euro sign is seen in front of the European Central Bank, ECB, in Frankfurt, central Germany. As the euro breaks the $1.50 barrier, business in the eurozone is starting to fret.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Now that its common currency is trading above the $1.50 barrier, eurozone industry is calling for action to remain competitive in global markets. BMW, which has already laid off 5,600 employees, will have to take further action in the event of a "sustained rise" of the euro, reports the Telegraph. "We can't cope with such an exchange gap," compained the CEO of Dassault, France's top aviation company.

European business is bracing for a shift of manufacturing to the US or low-cost areas, and a continued fall of the once-preeminent dollar will only exacerbate the problem. Nevertheless, the European Central Bank hasn't touched its 4% interest rate since June. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, so far the sole European leader calling for lower rates, might find allies in overriding the bank's independence if business malaise continues.