The euro appreciated vis-Ã -vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5230 level and was supported around the $1.5170 level. The common currency established a new intraday high yesterday before ceding some gains. Eurozone finance ministers verbally today, noting they are closely monitoring exchange rates. European Central Bank member Quaden suggested the U.S. should reiterate its long-standing strong-dollar policy. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-15 January industrial product prices rise 0.8% m/m and 4.9% y/y, the strongest annual gain since August 2006. Wholesale inflation at the factory gate level will continue to render it difficult for the ECB to reduce interest rates anytime soon. Other data released today saw EMU-13 Q4 GDP up 0.4% q/q and 2.2% y/y, unchanged from provisional estimates. Also, German January plant, machinery new orders were up 7% y/y. Most traders do not expect European Central Bank will change monetary policy on Thursday and will pay close attention to remarks from ECB President Trichet who may highlight growing downside risks for economic growth. In U.S. news, traders await Fridayâ€™s February non-farm payrolls number. A weak set of data will likely result in increased speculation about a 50bps or 75bps interest rate cut by the Federal Open Market Committee on 18 March or perhaps another intermeeting rate cut. Fed Chairman Bernanke called on lenders to enact vigorous solutions to counter foreclosures in the mortgage market. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4940 level.
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