Gordon Brown's 11th and presumably final budget as chancellor of the UK is set to be the biggest of this week's economic reports when it is delivered on Wednesday.

In early Monday trading, the dollar rallied against the yen from ¥116.26 to ¥117.26, while the euro rose from ¥154.84 to ¥156.06 and the pound traded up at ¥228.01.

Mr Brown is expected to maintain his most recent GDP estimate of between 2.75 and 3.25 per cent, above the 2.7 per cent seen during 2006.  

Wednesday will see the release of minutes of the Bank of England's March rate-setting meeting, which will be keenly watched for indications of future direction.

Also due this week in the UK will be the key consumer price and annualised retail price inflationary indices.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Federal Reserve is expected to leave the dollar rate on hold at 5.25 per cent when it meets on Wednesday.

With the US property market slowdown and its potential to drag the wider economy down again at the forefront of economists' minds, housing data will be closely watched.

Figures for new housing starts, building permits and existing home sales are all due this week and will be carefully scrutinised for health warnings.