Euro area GDP figures released this morning show the eurozone contracted by -0.1% in the second quarter, on track for a -4.6% annual contraction. The small decline comes after a -2.5% contraction in the first quarter and shows that the pace of recession has significantly slowed.

In a further surprise to markets, the French and German economies have also grown by 0.3% each in the second quarter. These are the two largest nations in the eurozone and growth here puts the rest of the region in good stead for the second half of 2009. In combination with positive sentiment in the US this has boosted risk appetite, sending euro exchange rates higher against the US dollar and pound.

The euro exchange rate is currently USD1.42 and GBP0.85.

The rates quoted above are interbank rates. Client rates may vary according to the volume and timing of the trade.