The euro enjoyed a positive 24 hours, rising against the dollar amid encouraging signs from some of Europe's economies and a hardening resolve to combat inflation.

Otmar Issing, chief economist with the European Central Bank (ECB), said that while the current situation was still unfolding with regard to inflation, banks would have to remain "extremely vigilant".

His comments follow similar sentiments from ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet last month on controlling inflation.

Elsewhere Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip explained how the euro would act as a catalyst for economic growth in his country, with the wider accession countries all expected to benefit from the new union.

He told Bloomberg the euro would add one per cent to the national growth each year from its introduction in 2007.

In the UK meanwhile, news that the economy was slowing was countered by a better-than-expected performance.

British GDP grew by 0.4 per cent on a quarterly basis, bringing the yearly figure up to 1.6 per cent - higher than most expectations.