The euro gained on the broadly weaker sterling as the International Monetary Fund warned Greece it will need to make deeper budget cuts in exchange for further aid.
The IMF, with its leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn in jail in New York on sex assault charges, is urging Athens to adopt new reforms in the coming months. Greece is desperate to avoid restructuring its sovereign debt, and will need help from neighbors and the IMF.
A lack of consensus on the Greece crisis has hurt the euro in recent weeks, but its losses versus the dollar have been muted by a series of economic releases showing lingering weakness in the U.S. economy.
The euro was stuck near $1.42 versus the dollar today, unable to sustain a move back toward 17-month highs set earlier in May. The euro topped out near $1.50 a few weeks ago.
In news from the beleaguered U.S. housing front, mortgage applications continued to rise last week, as home owners rushed to lock in low interest rates.
U.S. mortgage applications increased 7.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 13, 2011.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.60 percent from 4.67 percent.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of the April 26-27 monetary policy setting meeting at 2 pm ET. The FOMC minutes are also likely to be combed through to get further insights into the Fed's thinking about economic conditions and its monetary policy stance.
Meanwhile, the euro rose to a 10-day high of GBP 0.8824 versus the sterling.
The number of Britons claiming jobless allowance increased in April at the sharpest pace since January last year, even as the UK's private sector struggled to compensate for job losses in the public sector due to government spending cuts.
The Bank of England's rate-setting body decided by a split vote to leave the key interest rate unchanged this month as concerns over consumer spending overshadowed mounting inflation, the minutes of the meeting revealed Wednesday.
On the flip side, the Eurozone economy no longer needs the degree of economic or monetary stimulus adopted during the height of the financial crisis, given the strong ongoing recovery of the region, European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board member Jurgen Stark said Wednesday.