The euro eased off in the last 24 hours after large gains, as indications of a June interest rate rise emerged from the European central Bank (ECB).

This morning the euro was at 1.4362 against the pound, while the dollar was at 1.2195 against the single currency.

In a press conference, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet played down the current speculation over a rate rise in May.

Instead, he pinpointed June as a more likely date for the next shift.

Stressing that the widespread belief in an imminent interest rate hike "did not correspond" with the ECB's thinking, Mr Trichet's words had a cooling effect on the market.

The euro has been soaring of late, hitting highs against the yen and eight-week best against the dollar.