A very weak US GDP report would tend to strengthen the dollar against the Euro initially despite increasing longer-term US currency vulnerability.

The Euro was again undermined in part by Russian rouble weakness on Thursday while defensive dollar demand also increased again. The US new home sales data was much weaker than expected with a decline to an annual rate of 331,000 in December from a downwardly-revised 388,000 the previous month. This was the sharpest monthly decline for over 60 years while the annual rate was the lowest since the series began in 1963. Inventories also rose sharply which will undermine near-term activity.

The other US data offered no relief with jobless claims rising to 588,000 in the latest week from 585,000 previously while continuing claims were at a record high. Durable goods orders fell by 2.6% for December with an underlying 3.6% decline. Following the spark of optimism following the existing home sales data, there were renewed fears over the depth and duration of the downturn with a very weak fourth-quarter GDP report expected on Friday.

The weak housing data will increase pressure for even more aggressive fiscal action to support the economy. Risk appetite remained weaker on Friday and the dollar strengthened to a peak near 1.2840