Global trade will shrink by 9%
Pound Sterling - UK Markets
The Retail Prices Index - a key measure of UK inflation - has fallen to zero for the first time in 49 years. The RPI, which includes housing costs, fell to 0% in February on an annual basis from 0.1% in January. The fall in RPI, as recorded in the latest Office for National Statistics data, stems largely from the fall in mortgage repayments after a series of interest rate cuts.
However, the Consumer Price Index - another key indicator of inflation - showed an unexpected rise this month. The CPI, which is used in economic policy, rose from 3% to 3.2%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Following this surprising news, the Pound has risen immediately to a six-week high against the US Dollar, and has gained 1.3% against the Euro.
US Dollar - US Markets
Following details of the US Treasury's plan pump up to $1tn into the banking system to secure toxic debts, it's a lighter day for US data.
US home sales rose last month, as buyers took advantage of bargain priced houses that had previously been repossessed, data from the National Association of Realtors has shown. Sales of existing homes grew 5.1% in February to an annual rate of 4.72 million, up from January's 4.49 million, the largest jump since 2003.
Euro - European Markets
Eurozone industrial output plunged by 3.5% in January compared with the previous month, the biggest decline since records began in 1990. Compared with January 2008, the official Eurostat figures showed that industrial production across the 16 nations that share the Euro fell 17.3%. The drop has come as factories cut output in light of a drop in demand for Eurozone goods around the world. Output from the 27 countries of the EU fell by 2.9% and 16.3% for the year. Analysts have been taken aback at the scale of the drop.
The biggest monthly drops came in Latvia (11.2%), Portugal (9.8%) and Germany (7.5%). The only country to officially record a rise was Hungary, where output rose by 2.5%. Ireland saw output rise by 6.7% but this was an estimate using old data.
Industrial output in the UK fell by 2.4%. For the year as a whole, Estonia (26.8%), Latvia (23.9%) and Sweden (21.1%) saw the biggest falls. German output fell by 19.1% the UK's fell by 11.9%.
Meanwhile, Swedish import prices decreased 0.2% from January to February, while export prices were unchanged. The total producer prices decreased 0.2% over the same period.
Other Currencies - Highlights
The Japanese Yen has hit a five-month low against the Euro and a 4-month trough against the Australian Dollar as optimism about a US scheme to relieve banks of distressed assets stoked demand for higher-yielding currencies.
The US Dollar has also struck 2-month lows against its Australian and New Zealand equivalents as the global stock market rally reduced the safety appeal of the greenback, which tends to gain at times of severe market stress.