Data released early last Friday, which showed the economies of France and Germany expanding by 0.3% in the third quarter, were followed by an identical figure for the euro zone as a whole. Inflation in Euroland came in at 0.1% for October, with the "core" reading, which ignores food and energy prices, at 1.1%. 

Nevertheless, the minutes of the European Central Bank's policy meeting revealed concern among governing council members that inflation expectations in the €Z could move lower than they would prefer. Investors therefore still expect the ECB to announce fresh stimulus next month, though nobody has any concrete idea of what form it may take.

The expectation of further quantitative easing continues to weight on the euro. Over the last week and month it has been one of the weakest performers. On the week it has lost two thirds of a US cent and is down by one and half cents against sterling.