The euro climbed from a 1-month low against the pound and a 1-week low against the Swiss franc during Wednesday's early European trading. At the same time, the euro extended its Asian session downtrend against the yen and the dollar.
In economic news, Germany's Federal Statistical Office announced that the trade surplus stood at EUR 8.7 billion in February, up from EUR 7 billion surplus recoded in the previous month. Economists had expected the surplus of EUR 7.5 billion. A year ago, the trade surplus was EUR 17.1 billion.
The Bank of France said its business sentiment indicator for industries rose to 73 in March from February's revised reading of 71.
However, industrial activity contracted overall at a similar pace to the previous month. Production declined in all sectors. The capacity utilization rate, which fell slightly, hit a record low.
The euro climbed to 1.5177 against the Swiss franc by about 5:05 am ET Wednesday, after having hit a 1-week low of 1.5119 during today's Asian trading. This may be compared to yesterday's closing value of 1.5165. On the upside, the next likely target for the single currency is seen around the 1.53 level.
The European currency bounced back against the pound after falling to a 1-month low of 0.8964 by about 1:05 am ET. The euro is now trading at 0.9018 against the pound, compared to hit 0.9011 late yesterday in New York. If the euro rises further, 0.916 is seen as the next likely resistance level.
The euro fell against the yen and the dollar today as concerns about the global economy prompted investors to seek the safety of the world's most liquid currency. As a result, the euro hit new multi-day lows of 1.3150 against the dollar and 130.99 versus the yen by about 2:45 am ET Wednesday, compared to Tuesday's closing values of 1.3273 and 133.30, respectively. The next downside target for the euro-dollar pair is seen at 1.298 level and euro-yen pair at 128.2 level.
Stocks across the Asia-Pacific and Europe fell today on speculation that persistently sluggish economic growth will curb demand. The dollar and the yen often strengthen in times of economic uncertainty as investors opt for low yielding currencies.
In a preliminary report, the ministry said that current account balance in Japan swung to a surplus in February, coming in at 1.116 trillion yen. That's down 55.6 percent on year, even though it beat expectations for a surplus of 1.071 trillion yen following the record 172.8 billion yen shortfall in January. The current account surplus was 125.4 billion yen in December, 581.2 billion yen in November and 960.5 billion yen in October.
From US, the Commerce Department is due to release its wholesale inventories report at 10 am ET today. Economists expect wholesale inventories at the end of February to show a 0.6% decline.
Half an hour later, the Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report.
At 2:00 pm ET, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of its March 17th-18th meeting. Along with an announcement to keep interest rates unchanged at exceptionally low levels following its two-day FOMC meeting in March, the Fed said it would purchase $300 billion worth of longer-term securities over the next 6 months. Additionally, the Fed said it will buy an incremental $750 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities and $100 billion of government sponsored enterprises - GSE debt. The Fed also said it intends to add $100 billion to its purchases of agency debt.
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