Wednesday's gross domestic product data put Euroland ahead of the States and Britain in the growth stakes. While the economy of the UK expanded by 0.4% in the first quarter, and that of the US by 0.2%, the euro zone expanded by 0.6%. The GDP figures - the week's only top-tier €Z ecostats - helped explain why the euro was able to add one and a half US cents and to strengthen by a cent and a quarter against the pound over the week.

It was not exactly a triumph for the euro though. It was flattered by the weakness of the pound and the dollar; against all the other major currencies it was lower. The dollar's problem was a disappointing set of US employment data, which dashed hopes of an interest rate increase this month. Sterling's handicap was - and remains - the upcoming referendum on Britain's EU membership.