Euro higher after inspectors report Greek progress

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BERLIN (AP) — The euro gained ground against the dollar on Thursday as European and International Monetary Fund inspectors said Greece has made considerable progress in dealing with its financial crisis.

The 16-nation euro bought $1.3196 in late-morning European trading — up from levels as low as $1.3120 earlier in the session and above the $1.3172 it bought in New York late Wednesday.

European and IMF officials unveiled Thursday the results of a two-week review of Greece’s austerity program, and IMF official Poul Thomsen said he was “definitely confident” Athens would receive the next installment from an emergency loan program.

The euro sank to a four-year low of $1.1878 in early June amid market worries about the debt crisis in Greece and fears that it could spread to other eurozone countries.

However, the market’s focus has switched recently from Europe’s debt troubles to worries about slowing growth in the United States, the world’s largest economy, and the euro has regained ground.

The dollar had stemmed a recent slide on Wednesday after upbeat reports on jobs and the U.S. services industry.

The European Central Bank and Bank of England were both expected to leave interest rates untouched later Thursday. Attention focused on ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet’s assessment of the eurozone outlook.

In other trading Thursday, the British pound was down marginally to $1.5894 from $1.5898. The dollar edged up to 86.26 Japanese yen from 86.24 yen.