Prior to today’s releases, Germany was the leader in growth for the region and improving economic data sold the market on the country’s slow and steady recovery.  However today’s report puts the strength of the rebound in question especially since it indicates that despite improving business activity and confidence, the benefits have yet to filter onto consumers who remain very hesitant.  Over in France, data was mixed.  Consumer confidence and housing starts improved, but producer prices fell for the second consecutive month.  Overall, this definitely stifles expectations for a near term rate hike especially since Germany was suppose to be the leader in growth that was pulling the entire region higher.  France on the other hand was offsetting some of the growth with lagging performance.  The only Euro related development that could have aided the Euro were comments by Russian President Putin who said that thanks to their strong economy Russia would be able to repay their Paris Club debt earlier than scheduled.  In order to do so, they would need to sell Rubles and buy Euros.