The US dollar strengthened against most major counterparts as the Federal Reserve of
The euro started the week at 1.3693, gaining gradually during the week, as speculation in the US over the Federal Reserves' decision fuelled uncertainty. The single currency continued to gain as German Finance Minister,
The Sterling Pound fell over 200 basis points against the dollar during the week. The Pound opened at 1.6747, hiking only slightly to a 4-year high of 1.6823, until orders were triggered which pushed the Pound lower. The drop continued amid concerns that the economic recovery will slow, as retail sales showed a downward forecast. The Pound continued to fall with bad economic data, to touch a low of 1.6613. The GBP closed the week at 1.6616.
The Japanese yen was one of the biggest losers last week, as it weakened more than 100 basis points against the dollar. The currency opened the week at 101.80, gaining against the dollar on Monday to touch a high of 101.39. The Japanese yen then fell as the
The Aussie dollar opened the week at 0.9034, only to gradually weaken against a stronger US dollar. The currency dropped to its lowest level to 0.8937. The Aussie regained some of its losses as the Reserve Bank of
The Federal Reserve, chaired by the newly appointed
The Federal Reserve Bank of
Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, indicating that US employers are hanging on to their workers, even with a slowdown in in manufacturing and housing due to the cold weather. Jobless claims dropped by 3,000 to 336,000, only 1,000 shy of the expected figure of 335,000. The slowdown in dismissals could lay the groundwork for a pickup in hiring, which will equate to a boost in consumer spending, as most retailers prepare to launch summer clothing and equipment.
Eurozone manufacturing production unexpectedly dropped to 54.7, from 56.5 in January. The Manufacturing production index slipped more than the expected 56.3. While the Euro-area economy is forecasted to post full year growth in 2014 for the first time in 3-years, the recovery remains at risk because of near-record unemployment and subdued price pressures.
German investor confidence fell in February for a second consecutive month, a sign that the recovery in neighbouring countries is not strong enough, and pose a risk to the continents' powerhouse. The ZEW investor Confidence index slid more than the forecasted 61.5, to 55.7, from 61.7 the previous month. While German economic growth in the fourth quarter exceeded estimates, investors are still cautious about the rest of the Euro area, the country's biggest trading partner.
The United Kingdoms' unemployment rate unexpectedly rose in the fourth quarter last year, indicating that the recent improvement in the labour market has lost its momentum. The jobless rate rose to 7.2 percent, the first increase since
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