German exports jumped 7.0% month on month in June, widening trade surplus figures from EUR10.2bn to EUR11bn. The encouraging data suggests that demand for German goods is improving, especially from other eurozone countries.

Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Sterling slipped this morning, hitting a one-week low against the euro after Royal Bank of Scotland posted a GBP1bn loss for the first half of 2009. The bank also said its results would continue to be poor for the next two years.

The announcement follows yesterday's statement from the Bank of England that a further GBP50bn will be pumped into the banking system. The pound fell away from a 9 1/2 month high against the US dollar and brought an end to the broad gains sterling had made earlier in the week.

Elsewhere, UK factory-gate prices rose by more than expected in July, the Office for National Statistics has said. However, while monthly producer prices rose 0.3% in July from June, wholesale prices were 1.3% lower on the year. A 0.2% rise had been forecast.

US Dollar - US Markets

The US dollar is relatively unchanged against its European counterparts today and is only slightly lower against the yen, as markets await key US employment data later today. At the time of writing, the greenback is worth 0.5978 against the pound and 0.6964 against the euro.

Euro - European Markets

Italy's recession eased in the second quarter of the year, with gross domestic product contracting less than expected, preliminary data from Istat has shown.

Europe's fourth-largest economy shrunk by 0.5% in the April-June period, after a record 2.7% drop in the first quarter of 2009. Compared with the second quarter of 2008, Italian GDP fell by 6% in April-June 2009, after dropping by the same amount year-on-year in the first three months.

French trade deficit widened in June to EUR4.01bn, above expectations, due to falling exports and rising imports, according to seasonally adjusted customs data released today. Exports in June contracted to EUR27.44bn from a revised EUR27.91bn the previous month. In May, they had been initially estimated at EUR28.04bn.

The External Trade Ministry said the contraction was due to a fall in France's energy bill, reflecting cheaper oil prices.

Other Currencies - Highlights

Swiss seasonally adjusted unemployment rose to 3.9% in July, from 3.8% in June; the highest figure since September 2004. Meanwhile, the unadjusted rate rose to 3.7% from 3.6%, the highest since January 2006. Although the jobless figure is low compared with current international standards, Swiss unemployment is likely to continue to rise throughout the year, impacting consumer spending.