Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Answering questions from MPs at a Treasury committee meeting, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned against further significant government spending to stimulate the economy. Given the high levels of UK debt as a result of recent stimulus packages, Mr King questioned the wisdom of increasing debt by spending more.

Following yesterday's surprise jump in British consumer price inflation to an annual rate of 3.2 percent, Sterling fell against the US Dollar and Euro, giving back some of the previous session's gains as investors reconsidered the unexpected rise in inflation.

US Dollar - US Markets

Barack Obama has told Americans he sees signs of economic recovery, but has urged them to be patient and look beyond their "short-term interests". The US president said his draft budget would build a stronger economy which would mean America did not face a repeat crisis in 10 or 20 years. Obama's $3.6tn budget faces its first tests in Congress this week.

Orders for US durable goods are predicted to have fallen in February for a seventh straight month as the global slump in business spending deepened, economists said before the release of data from the US Commerce Department today.

Bookings for goods meant to last several years decreased 2.5%, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after dropping 4.5 percent in January. A report on new-home sales, also from the Commerce Department, is anticipated to show sales of new houses declined to the lowest level on record.

Euro - European Markets

Germany's Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research released a German business confidence survey earlier today. The business confidence index has dropped to a historical low of 82.1 in March from 82.6 in February. The Euro has now gained slightly against its major counterparts.

According to research centre ISAE, Italian consumer confidence fell more-than-expected in March as households' view of the overall economy and employment opportunities slipped. ISAE said the seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index for Europe's fourth-largest economy dropped to 99.8 from 104 in February, returning to levels last seen at the end of 2008.

ISAE said consumers' expectations of their overall economic situation fell sharply to 62.1 from 70.4, while views on rising unemployment increased to 115 from 97. Views on their personal situation dropped to 118.3 from 120.7.

Other Currencies - Highlights

Japan's exports saw a record plunge in February, falling by nearly half compared with a year earlier, according to the country's finance ministry. In line with forecasts, exports fell 49.4% year-on-year to 3.526tn yen ($36bn; £24.6bn). This data comes after figures for January showed year-on-year exports nearly halved that month as well.

The South African Rand was softer against the US Dollar in early trade today, moving back into the 9.50s, as some nervousness about global stock markets returned to the markets.