TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Scott Jagow: For months on end, the story was rising oil prices, the falling value of the dollar. Lately, it’s been falling oil, rising dollar. This morning, both are going up, which is pretty unusual. Oil traders are buying because there’s some concern about Hurricane Gustav disrupting production in the Gulf of Mexico. And the dollar’s appealing because other currencies are not.
Let’s talk to our European Correspondent Stephen Beard. Stephen, what’s the story this morning?
Stephen Beard: It seems that the major concern is the Eurozone economy, which is depressing the euro against the dollar. A survey of German business sentiment out today: much lower than expected, it’s at a three-year low. And this does confirm the trend that we’ve seen recently and some figures that indicated that in the second quarter, the German economy fell by a half of 1 percent, and the Eurozone economy as a whole fell by 0.2 percent. So with all its problems, the U.S. economy actually is still growing. That doesn’t seem to be the case here in Europe.
Jagow: That’s so funny, because we’ve been hearing for so long how investors in other countries are worried about the U.S. economy, and now they’re worried about their own economies. What about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all the other things that people are fretting about here?
Beard: Well, indeed, it just simply seems that the view is here that relatively speaking, the Eurozone could be hit even harder than the U.S. in the downturn. And one other little factor that appears to be buoying some of the strength beneath the dollar today — remarks by the investment guru Warren Buffett. He’s saying that he’s not taking any bets against the dollar. That’s given currency traders here an idea that maybe the dollar is the currency to buy.
Jagow: Wow, what a turn of events. All right, Stephen Beard in London, thank you.
Beard: OK, Scott.
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