Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Sterling foreign exchange rates are relatively unchanged this morning, slightly down against the US, Australian and Canadian currencies, while recovering some of the ground against the euro lost on Friday. Sterling is currently trading at USD1.64 and EUR1.15.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants has seen confidence among business professionals rise by the largest amount in two years, as the UK is expected to return to growth in the third quarter. The index leapt from -28.2 at the end of March to 4.8 at the end of June. The London FTSE has gained ground following the news. This week is light for UK data, with nationwide house prices released tomorrow.

US Dollar - US Markets

US foreign exchange rates are slightly higher this morning against the yen, euro and pound while declining against its Asian currency partners. The dollar is currently valued at EUR0.69 and GBP0.60.

Comments from Ben Bernanke that growth prospects for the US economy "appear good" helped fuel a rise in risk appetite overnight with Asian markets gaining ground. The pound reached an 11-day high against the dollar last week after US house prices continued to rise for the fifth consecutive month. This week brings more housing data in the US, along with consumer confidence and durable goods orders.

Euro - European Markets

Euro foreign exchange rates are slightly weaker this morning, losing ground against all its major currency partners with the exception of the pound, Swiss franc, yen and South Korean won. The single currency is currently trading at USD1.42 and GBP0.86.

The euro continued is rally in Friday's trading following news that business expectations in Germany and France rose to their highest level in over two years, supporting the view that their economies are recovering. This morning industrial new orders in the eurozone rose 3.1% in June, while still declining at an annual rate of -25.1%. There is no major data in the eurozone today.

Other Currencies - Highlights

In Asian markets Thailand is the latest country to join the growing list of those emerging from recession. In combination with improved confidence from Ben Bernanke, this has fuelled gains in Asian stock markets this morning, where markets from Hong Kong to South Korea have gained ground.

Foreign exchange rates for the Japanese yen have weakened against the euro for the third consecutive day, as growing optimism is capping demand for the safe haven currencies. The yen also declined the most against the Australian and South Korean currencies, and is currently valued at 135.63 per euro.