The euro gained against other currencies after the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said that he would maintain "vigilance" on inflationary pressures.

The euro was up 0.1 per cent against the dollar over the day at $1.3035 and 0.5 per cent against the yen at ¥157.84, while the yen fell 0.3 per cent on the dollar to ¥121.05.

The ECB left rates on hold at its monthly meeting yesterday, but markets interpreted the comments from president Jean-Claude Trichet as an indication of future direction.

"Strong vigilance remains of the essence so as to ensure that risks to price stability over the medium term do not materialise," he told a press conference.

Pressed whether the stance indicated a March rate rise Mr Trichet added that the comment "speaks for itself".

Elsewhere, the pound traded 0.6 per cent down on the dollar at $1.9576 after the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged at 5.25 per cent.