After a couple of weeks of decent performance the euro has run out of steam. The Euroland economic data are at least partly to blame. Over last week they have shown fading confidence, a narrower trade surplus, a fall in construction output and a broad deterioration in the purchasing managers' indices which measure the health of private sector activity.

The euro was also spooked by news that the European Central Bank would be stepping up its bond purchases in May and June in order to buy less during the summer lull. It did not help that the news was revealed early to a select group of investors because of "an internal procedural error" at the ECB.

So the euro ended up sharing the wooden spoon with the Swiss franc. It lost two and three quarter US cents and one Australian cent and fell by two and a half cents against sterling.