The euro and European shares slipped on Thursday ahead of expected interest rate cuts by the euro zone and British central banks, while Asian shares dipped on disappointment China did not announce new stimulus plans.
Concerns about the financial sector and the adverse impact on corporate profits from the slowing global economy were still haunting investors after world stocks, measured by MSCI <.MIWD00000PUS>, fell to a six-year low on Wednesday.
The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates to an all-time low of 1.5 percent and slash its 2009 and 2010 economic forecasts. The focus is on whether President Jean-Claude Trichet would give clues on what more the central bank can do to boost the economy.
Before that, the Bank of England is also set to cut interest rates to close to zero and announce it will start boosting the money supply to resuscitate the economy as conventional monetary policy measures lose their edge.
With revised ECB staff forecasts set to reflect both the weaker GDP outlook and more benign inflation, the euro looks set to remain on a weakening trend over the coming months, said Daragh Maher, deputy head of global FX strategy at Calyon.
The euro fell 0.6 percent to $1.2592 while sterling ticked lower to $1.4196.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> fell 1.2 percent while the MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> lost 0.1 percent on the day. Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF> were steady on the day.
Asian stocks <.MIAPJ0000PUS> erased earlier gains and lost 0.2 percent.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China would ramp up deficit spending this year to hits is 8-percent growth target but did not announce an increase in the country's two-year economic stimulus plan, unveiled in November.
U.S. crude oil fell 1.9 percent to $44.54 a barrel after a nine-percent jump on Wednesday.
The dollar <.DXY> rose 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies. The Federal Reserve has already cut benchmark interest rates close to zero and introduced a range of plans to boost liquidity in the financial market.
Quantitative easing has provided little support for government bonds so far, but regardless of exactly how this policy is implemented we still think that the wider economic and financial environment means that yields have further to fall, Capital Economics said in a note to clients.
The March Bund future ticked lower, weighed by debt issuance from France and Spain totaling around 11 billion euros.
Gold, a safe-haven asset which investors prefer in times of financial stress, rose 0.6 percent to $912.55 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Tamawa Desai, editing by Mike Peacock)