The Eurozone unemployment rate fell to 10.5% in November, the lowest level since October 2011, and down from 10.6% in October. And in other good news for the currency, a survey tracking economic sentimet rose in December to 106.8 from November's 106.1. Retail sales however were a sore point, falling 0.3% m/m in November. Nonetheless, Euro bulls saw enough to rally the currency 0.72% against the dollar to 1.0857. Euro jumped to an 11-week high against sterling at 0.7432. It erased its losses against the yen, gaining 0.20% to trade at 128.
It was another story for the struggling sterling, which plunged to its lowest in 5-1/1 years against the dollar at 1.4585, down 0.33% for the day. Sterling is besieged by uncertainty regarding the future of Britain in the EU, after a poll released earlier showed the camp of "Out" exceeding the camp of "In" for the first time. Sterling additionally fell to a new 14-month low against the yen at 172.20.
European shares took a beating after Chinese shares plunged more than 7% before being halted, and following the People's Bank of China devaluation of the yuan by half a percent, showing that the economy is weaker than is thought. the pan-European index FTSEurofirst tumbled to a 3-month low at 1,351, down 2.92% for the day. Germany's DAX dipped 240 points, or 2.34% to 9,975. Britain's FTSE index slid 112 points, or 1.85% to 5,961. France's CAC skidded 70 points, or 1.66% to 4,406.
Oil prices recovered some of their heavy losses but remained down for the day, with Brent crude futures down 51 cents, or 1.48% at $33.69 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures lost 55 cents, or 1.62% to $33.31 a barrel.