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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dollar's Fall Scares Some in Europe

NEW YORK -- The dollar hit a new low against the seemingly unstoppable euro Friday as the 13-nation currency broke through $1.41.

The euro's ascension renewed calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the European Central Bank to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve and cut interest rates, which would help keep French exports competitive.

Despite the worries of some exporters, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood firm that the bank must remain independent.

The currency of the 13 euro nations, which have more than 317 million residents and account for more than 15 percent of global gross domestic product, surged as high as $1.4119 before falling back to $1.4083 by late afternoon.

As the dollar weakens against the euro, it could dampen European exports to the United States, making European-made products -- from automobiles to consumer appliances --more expensive for American buyers.

The strength of the currency is becoming a political issue, particularly in France, which has repeatedly demanded that the ECB end its nearly two-year rate hike campaign.

Trichet said in a speech Thursday that independence was the cornerstone of the bank's monetary policy because it "allows the central bank to pursue its primary objective and to take full responsibility for its action."