The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3570 level and was supported around the $1.3450 level. The common currency reclaimed some recent lost ground as Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke reported the U.S. dollar could be negatively impacted by the rapidly expanding public deficit that is now projected to reach 11% of gross domestic product by the end of the year. Bernanke implored Congress and the Obama administration to find a solution to the escalating deficit. The common currency scaled back earlier gains after a rumour circulated that Greece may be facing a credit downgrade. Greece is expected to sell some €5 billion in new ten-year bonds next week to refinance a mountain of maturing debt and will need to tap the capital markets extensively this year. Focus is now on the derivatives trades Greece entered into to be able to qualify to join the euro. Data released in the U.S. today saw January durable goods orders climb a stronger-than-expected 3.0%, up from a revised 1.9% in December, while the ex-transportation component was off -0.6%, down from an upwardly revised +2.0% in December. Also, weekly initial jobless claims came in on the weak side, up 496,000 from 474,000 last week, while continuing jobless claims printed at 4.617 million, up from 4.611 million. These data indicate the U.S. labour market is not really gaining any traction. Other data saw the December house price index off 1.6% m/m, down from a revised +0.4%, and was off 0.1% q/q, down from a revised +0.1%. Many data will be released in the U.S. tomorrow including Q4 gross domestic product, the February Chicago Purchasing Manager index, February University of Michigan consumer sentiment, and January existing home sales. In eurozone news, EMU-16 consumer confidence retreated to -17 in February from -16 in January, the first decline since the recent low of -34 in March 2009. Also, February economic confidence improved slightly to 95.9 from 95.7 in January and industrial confidence rallied to -13 from -14 in January. Additionally, it was reported that German February unemployment remained steady at 8.2% with 7,000 jobs lost. Moreover, M3 money supply was up 0.1% y/y in January. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.