The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3620 level and was capped around the $1.3685 level. There are ongoing themes that are driving trading flows now. First, Greece's fiscal problems continue to plague the common currency. Greece continues to assert that it will not require financial assistance to manage its mountain of maturing debts. If a bailout is required, the most likely candidates include Germany, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund. Second, there is a concern that sovereign credit risks could intensify and spread to other highly indebted eurozone countries including Portugal, Italy, and Spain. The prospect of a widerning problem has kept the single currency on the defensive for weeks. Third, there is a general sense that the Federal Reserve will be more proactive about unwinding emergency credit measures than the European Central Bank. This perception has also kept the euro on the defensive. Fourth, economic data continue to be mixed. Economists note that there really is not an evident trend in the U.S. labour market yet. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims decline 6,000 to 462,000 while continuing jobless claims came in at 4.588 million, up from 4.521 million. Some private sector forecasts suggest there could be jobs growth this month as high as 300,000. The general sense is that the unemployment rate will gradually decrease, possibly falling below 9% later this year. Other data released in the U.S. today saw the January trade balance print at -US$ 37.3 billion, down from an upwardly revised US$ -39.9 billion in December. Most economists expect the mammoth U.S. trade deficit to continue widening. Tomorrow's U.S. data will include February retail sales, mid-March University of Michigan consumer sentiment, and January business inventories. Many important data including industrial production, TICS flows, and housing numbers will be released early next week. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Mersch said that if a European Monetary Fund is created to help address fiscal problems in the eurozone, the entity will not receive financial asssitance from the ECB. Germany's Kiel Institute reduced its eurozone growth forecast to +0.7% for 2010 and +1.8% for 2011. Data released in the eurozone today saw the Q4 current account surplus print at €4.8 billion compared with a €32.2 billion deficit one year ago. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.
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