Euro falls to new 22-month low against U.S. dollar, to US$1.246, following news of lower U.S. consumer confidence, Spain retail sales

NEW YORK , May 29, 2012 () – The euro plunged to a fresh 22-month low Tuesday after a survey found that U.S. consumer confidence fell in May.

Traders also bought the dollar after retail sales plunged in Spain last month.

The euro fell to $1.246 in afternoon trading, its lowest point against the dollar since July 2010. It was worth $1.2539 late Monday.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 64.9 from 68.7 in April.

In Spain, retail sales fell 9.8 percent in April from a year ago. That's more than double the 3.8 percent drop in March.

The retail data was just the latest bad news for the country. Recently nationalized Bankia, Spain's fourth-largest bank, said late last week it would need an additional $24 billion in state aid.

Spain has a 24.4 percent jobless rate and is battling its second recession in three years.

Traders are concerned the Spain, the fifth-largest economy in Europe, may need financial aid.

The dollar strengthened against most other currencies. The British pound fell to $1.5623 from $1.5681. The dollar rose to 0.9625 Swiss franc from 0.9584 Swiss franc and to 1.0259 Canadian dollar from 1.0240 Canadian dollar.

The dollar was unchanged at 79.43 Japanese yen from 79.46 yen.

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