The euro appreciated vis-Ã -vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2750 level and was supported around the $1.2530 level. As expected, the U.S. February non-farm payrolls number was a disaster as 651,000 Americans lost their jobs last month and the unemployment rate spiked to 8.1% from 7.6%. Average hourly earnings were up 0.2% and the average workweek was unchanged at 33.3 hours. Today€™s non-farm payroll print came in right around forecasts and was consistent with the ADP print. The big news, however, was a sharp downward revision to December€™s and January€™s non-farm payrolls results of a cumulative 161,000 jobs. The U.S. economy has now shed 4.4 million jobs since the recession officially began. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation yesterday indicated it may become insolvent this year on account of anticipated bank failures. The U.S. Senate is today deliberating an emergency US$ 500 billion loan to the FDIC that would serve as a backstop. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Bini Smaghi said if the current rate cuts end €œat a higher level€¦ it is more likely that the interest rate will remain at that above-zero floor level for some time.€ He added this would incentivize lenders to invest in long-term assets. The ECB yesterday trimmed its key interest rate target to 1.5%, the lowest rate ever. It is likely the ECB will resort to some sort of quantitative easing to expand the money supply. Data released in Germany today saw 2008 corporate insolvencies off 4.5% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2385 level.
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