A bad start last Friday gave way to a better performance by the euro this week, at least against the US dollar. It was not so fortunate against sterling which, for four days on the trot, showed the other major currencies the way following the US president's emphatic endorsement of Britain's continued membership of the European Union. The overall result was a gain of one US cent and a loss of one and a half cents to the pound.

The Euroland economic statistics did the euro no favours. There were improvements in business and investor sentiment and Germany's economy expanded by a provisional 0.8% in the first quarter but German retail sales were weak and consumer prices there fell by -0.2% in April. There was also a cloud over Portugal, whose credit rating is at risk of being cut to a non-investment grade, AKA "junk". Such a move would make the country's bonds ineligible for purchase by the European Central Bank.