The euro was range-bound against other major currencies on Wednesday in New York. Traders awaited the European Central Bank's interest rate decision, which is expected on Thursday.
The ECB is widely expected to slash rates by 50 basis points to a record-low 1%. Rates have already been reduced 275 basis points since October.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said governments cannot continue to allow deficits to grow if the economy is to improve. In an interview printed Wednesday in the French newspaper Le Monde, Trichet also said macroeconomic supervision must be reinforced by major economic countries.
The euro was little-changed amid choppy trading with the U.S. dollar, moving near 1.3220 in mid-day trading. The European currency reached a 13-day low of 1.3113 earlier this week.
The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 in February from a reading of 80.4 in January. The increase by the index came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the reading to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.
Automatic Data Processing's monthly report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 742,000 jobs in March following a revised decrease of 706,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected a decrease of 663,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 697,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Supply Management said its index of activity in the manufacturing sector edged up to 36.3 in March from 35.8 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting the index to come in at 36.0.
The single currency touched a 2 1/2-week low against the British pound of 0.9153. The euro has been trending lower for two weeks.
U.K.'s housing equity withdrawal was estimated at minus GBP 8 billion in the fourth quarter, a quarterly report from the Bank of England revealed. The negative number implies that individuals injected a net total of GBP 8 billion into housing equity in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a negative balance of GBP 6.8 billion.
The euro remained range-bound with the Japanese yen on Wednesday, moving near the 131.00 mark. The pair has been in a range since early Tuesday morning.
Sentiment among Japan's large manufacturers dropped at a record rate in the first quarter of 2009, posting a diffusion index score of minus 58, the Bank of Japan's Tankan Survey revealed.
Economic news from the Eurozone continued to be grim as jobless rate stood at 8.5% in February, the highest since May 2006, compared with January's revised 8.3%, the Eurostat reported. The jobless rate stood above the expected 8.3% and the 7.2% recorded in February 2008. The statistical office upwardly revised the unemployment rate for January from 8.2%.
The pace of decline in Eurozone manufacturing activity slowed in March compared to the fall seen in February, reports said citing survey data from Markit Economics.
The purchasing managers' index for the Eurozone manufacturing sector rose to 33.9 in March from a record low of 33.5 in February, but down from a preliminary estimate of 34. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while below 50 suggests contraction.
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