Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Interest from home-buyers is starting to gain "real momentum", although sales remain low, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has said. While new enquiries in the housing market increased for the fifth consecutive month, surveyors are still selling fewer than 10 homes on average each over the last three months. Nonetheless, there the poll found increased optimism that sales would pick up during the year, but it remained tough for first-time buyers.

With little fresh news from elsewhere following the Easter holiday, currency markets have been taking their cue from equities. With London FTSE index falling 0.3 percent in early trade, the pound has fallen against the US dollar this morning with investors once again returning to the perceived safety of the US currency. The pound will currently buy between 1.4804-1.4908USD.

US Dollar - US Markets

Retail sales in the US unexpectedly fell last month as rising unemployment forced consumers to ease back. In a report released yesterday, the Commerce Department said that the US retail had seen a 1.1% decrease in March. Car dealers, electronics stores and restaurants led the decline.

However, with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke echoing Barack Obama's comments by stating that the "sharp decline" in the US economy is slowing, the dollar has been enlivened by safe haven flows against the pound and the euro. While there is still unease ahead of earnings from the likes of Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, the euro fell around 0.6% against the greenback and is now currently trading at an interbank rate of between 1.3265-1.3286USD.

Euro - European Markets

Following the release of the German March wholesale price index report, the euro showed mixed trading against its major counterparts. While the euro eased against the dollar and the franc, it gained slightly against the pound.

The euro is currently worth around 0.8907-0.8912 against the pound.

Other Currencies - Highlights

China's economy is showing some signs of recovery from the global financial crisis, the country's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has said. China has already implemented a 4tn yuan stimulus package to boost economic activity. Despite its problems, China's economy - the third biggest in the world - is forecast to grow by at least 5% this year, in stark contrast to many major global economies that are shrinking.

Poland's government is to ask the International Monetary Fund for a USD20bn credit injection to help tackle the economic crisis. Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said it would increase bank reserves and make Poland "immune to the virus of the crisis and speculative attacks". Rostowski said the move would increase state bank reserves by about a third.