With the French presidential election on Sunday supposedly in the bag for Emmanuel Macron - the opinion polls give him a 66/33 advantage over Marine Le Pen - the euro took advantage of a politically risk-free week. It was the top performer among the major currencies, strengthening by 1.1% against sterling and the US dollar which shared third place behind the Swiss franc. The economic data from Euroland were suitably robust: inflation accelerated to 1.9% and first quarter growth came in at a provisional 0.5%, beating Britain's 0.3% expansion and the United States' 0.2%.

Sterling continued to enjoy the boost it received following notification of the early UK general election. Over the last month it led the other major currencies by an average of 4.2%. Unexpectedly strong purchasing managers' index readings allayed some of the concern that Britain's economy might at last be feeling the Brexit heat.