Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Mortgage approvals for house purchases in Britain rose more than expected in February, according to official figures from the Bank of England. There were 38,000 approvals in the month, up from 32,000 in January - the highest number since May 2008.

There was also the biggest net repayment of consumer debt since records began in April 1993. Consumers repaid £245m worth of credit more than they took out in February, having taken on an extra £165m of credit in January.

However, mortgage approval data hasn't stopped the pound from tumbling today, after a report by the property industry group Hometrack showed that the average price for a home in England and Wales plummeted by a record 10.3 percent on year in March. March's annual fall was the biggest yet in Hometrack's monthly survey of estate agents and surveyors, which started in 2000 and has persistently reported lower price falls than official government data.

US Dollar - US Markets

Supported by lower oil prices, the US dollar soared in early training to a 12-day high against its UK, European and Swiss counterparts as concerns about the global economy prompted investors to seek the safety of the world's most liquid currency.

However, the dollar has since slumped back against the yen amid fresh concerns about struggling US carmakers General Motors and Chrysler. The fall follows comments from a rescue task force that said their plans for recovery are "not viable."

The euro, however, remains weaker against the greenback as investors anticipate European Central Bank policy-makers will reduce interest rates when they meet on Thursday.

Euro - European Markets

The Irish Republic's economy has suffered its largest contraction in recent decades. The Irish economy shrank by 7.5% in the last three months of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier, a report by the Central Statistics Office has shown.

The construction industry, which has faced a housing market slump, suffered a 24% fall in output, the biggest fall on record. In the whole of 2008 the economy shrank by 2.3%, the first decline since 1983. Ireland has experienced a sharp downturn, becoming the first eurozone country to fall into recession in 2008.

The economic crisis in Spain has taken a new turn on Monday after the country became the first in the euro zone to report disinflation on the heels of a weekend takeover of a Spanish savings bank by the government. Preliminary data showed that harmonised consumer prices fell 0.1% in March on an annual basis, against a 0.7% rise in February, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatdistica. It was the first decline in consumer prices since the INE started tracking figures in 1961. Analysts had been expecting a rise in prices of around 0.4%.

Other Currencies - Highlights

Official figures show that Japan's manufacturing output has fallen for the fifth consecutive month. Industrial production dropped 9.4% in February, but rebounded from January's record 10.2% plunge, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.