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DOLLAR EUROLONDON: The euro rallied further against the dollar on Wednesday, with the US unit troubled by concerns over Washington's ability to tackle high debt in the world's biggest economy.

The euro climbed to $1.4477 in London morning trading from $1.4334 late in New York on Tuesday.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar gained to 82.79 yen from 82.57 yen on Tuesday.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold topped $1,500 an ounce for the first time as the weakened dollar plus fears over high inflation and countries' debt attracted investors to the safehaven precious metal.

Gold reached $1,504.25 an ounce at 0915 GMT.

The chief economist at the International Monetary Fund told Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday that the United States lacks a credible medium-term plan to reduce budget deficits.

"There are reasons for being concerned," the economist Olivier Blanchard told the newspaper in an interview to be published Thursday.

He was responding to questions about measures in the United States to curb the deficit, after the rating agency Standard and Poor's on Monday decided to put US long-term debt on negative watch.

The eurozone debt crisis was also in focus on Wednesday, as Portugal had to pay sharply increased interest rates on one billion euros ($695 million) borrowed for three and six months.

It comes a day after top EU and IMF officials working on a debt rescue for Portugal worth some 80 billion euros met leading unions and politicians, who said new austerity measures should not kill off firms or lead to unemployment.

The country is eight weeks from a risk of defaulting on its debt and faces a general election June 5 earlier than planned after the opposition rejected austerity cutbacks proposed by outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

Sterling fell against the euro as minutes from the Bank of England's last meeting indicated that it was unlikely to raise interest rates next month.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011

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