The euro moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2775 level and was capped around the $1.2955 level. The common currency came within a few pips of testing a multi-week low dating to early December. Data released in the U.S. today saw Q4 2008 GDP print at a better-than-expected -3.8%, albeit the worst print since Q1 1982. Notably, the personal consumption expenditure price index printed at -5.5% in Q4, down from +5.0% in Q3 – a sizable reversal that evidences the massive bout of disinflationary pressures in the U.S. economy. Other U.S. data saw the final January University of Michigan consumer sentiment indicator rose to 61.2 from 60.1 in January while the January Chicago business barometer reached 33.3, a 27-year low. President Obama continues to steer his proposed US$ 819 billion stimulus plan through the Senate where Republicans including McCain are circulating their own version. In eurozone news, the French government said Monday’s unemployment data will not be as bad as November’s tally, but otherwise weak. Data released in the eurozone saw EMU-15 December unemployment reach 8.0% while inflation fell sharply to a ten-year low of 1.1% - down from 1.6% in December and 2.1% in November. This decrease in consumer prices may culminate in a rate cut from the European Central Bank as early as next week. Recently, European Central Bank President Trichet intimated that March will be the likely time of the next rate cut. Eurozone sources said policymakers there want the U.S. to cooperate more on exchange rate policies and will discuss this topic at the February Group of Seven meeting. ECB member Liikanen said the likelihood of deflation in the eurozone is less than the U.S. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2475 level.
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