The euro experienced weakness against the other major currencies on Friday in New York as comments from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet failed to ease fears of division amongst ECB members.
Trichet said public authorities, executive branches, and central banks must do everything possible to restore confidence and support growth. Trichet cautioned that ambiguity in policy direction will delay recovery. Regarding the ECB rate-setting session on May 7, Trichet said in a speech in Tokyo that it is important not to create or encourage expectations.
The euro fell to a monthly low of 1.3025 against the U.S. dollar. The single currency has been trending lower for about 10 days.
In the U.S., the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for April rose to 61.9, a substantial increase from the previous reading. Analysts expected the index to rise to 58.5 from 57.3 in March.
The euro fell to a 2 1/2-week low of 128.82 against the Japanese yen, continuing a downward move that began yesterday afternoon.
A report from Japan's Department of Economic and Social Research Institute showed that the consumer confidence index rose to 28.9 in March from 26.7 in the previous month. The improvement in the index was close to the expected level of 29. Consumer confidence increased for the third consecutive month in March after falling to 26.2 in December.
Elsewhere, the BoJ lowered its assessment on seven of the country's nine regions in its latest regional economic report. The central bank's view on Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Shikoku and Kyushu-Okinawa underwent downward revisions. Meanwhile, the central bank maintained its view on Tokai and Chugoku.
The European currency remained in a range against the sterling, moving near 0.8800. If the euro slips below 0.8785 it will be at its lowest level since late February.
In the United Kingdom, a report released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders said around 900,000 home-owners in the UK presently have some degree of negative equity, although the majority of these, about two thirds face only modest shortfalls of less than 10%.
Meanwhile, the Eurostat reported that the trade deficit narrowed to EUR 2 billion in February from January's revised EUR 10.9 billion deficit. Economists had expected the deficit to contract to EUR 5 billion. After adjusting for seasonal variations, the trade balance recorded a deficit of EUR 4 billion in February versus EUR 5.4 billion shortfall in January. The adjusted deficit narrowed more than the expected deficit of EUR 4.9 billion.
Also, Eurozone's construction output fell a seasonally adjusted 1.8% month-on-month in February, following a 1.6% rise in the previous month, the Eurostat said in a separate report.
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