German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will ask U.S. President George W. Bush to take steps to strengthen the dollar when the two leaders meet in Washington on Friday, according to
Bloomberg news service. Schröder apparently wants to talk to Bush about the problems the euro's 17 percent gain against the dollar is causing for German exports and the need to avoid currency volatility, the report quoted an unnamed German official as saying. On Wednesday, the euro was worth $1.26. The official said Germany is seeking a foreign-exchange relationship built on the Feb. 7 statement by finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrial nations meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, for flexible exchange rates that avoid excess volatility. Yesterday, the Ifo index, Germany's most widely watched barometer of future economic activity, fell for the first time in 10 months in February.