LONDON – The euro’s value against the U.S. and Canadian dollars keeps dropping, and it could soon reach parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in 13 years.
Its dramatic decline could help companies in the 19-country eurozone and even be a boon to North American tourists by, for example, making it less expensive to buy a trip to the Italian Riviera.
The European single currency has been on the slide since May, when it traded as high as $1.40, while the U.S. dollar has been rising across a range of currencies. On Friday, the euro bought $1.0850, the lowest since 2003.
The Canadian dollar is now at 0.73 euros, up from about 0.65 euros at the beginning of 2014.
That rapid shift is having an impact on both sides of the Atlantic.
For North American visitors, Europe is getting cheaper. The lower euro means Americans can get more for their buck on an upcoming Easter break to Paris.
Tour companies in Greece are already reporting stronger interest from U.S. holiday seekers.
That is a welcome boost for the local European economies, many of which count on tourism for jobs and revenue. Greece earns around a fifth of its money from tourists.
“The cheap euro makes Greece more attractive, and we have a very positive picture,” said Andreas Andreadis, head of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises.
The euro has been falling mainly because of the divergence in economic performance between the eurozone and the United States. Where the eurozone’s recovery from the global financial crisis has been at best anemic, the U.S. economy appears to be going from strength to strength.
The Canadian dollar has been negatively impacted by the decline in oil prices, but is still fairing well against the euro.