Spanish news agency EFE, citing unnamed financial sources, said 11 euro zone banks were set to fail this weekend's long-awaited stress tests. That followed a
Reuters report on Tuesday that the European Central Bank was looking at buying corporate bonds to boost euro liquidity.
After the U.S. data, the euro dropped to a fresh one-week low just below $1.27. The dollar traded at around 107 yen.
Sterling dropped to just above $1.60, undermined by minutes from a Bank of England meeting showing the Monetary Policy Committee's nine members saw ``few signs'' of inflation pressures building. This indicated the drive toward tighter monetary policy was losing some steam. Just two members voted to raise interest rates, according to the minutes.
The ECB, which will publish the test outcomes for 130 banks on Sunday, warned after the EFE report that final results had not yet been sent to the lenders involved, and it could not comment on individual institutions. Any inferences drawn would be ``highly speculative'', it said.
But the report adds to a longer list of concerns about getting Europe onto a stronger growth footing and avoiding sinking into a debilitating cycle of deflation.
Several sources told Reuters on Tuesday the ECB was considering buying corporate bonds on the secondary market in an effort to boost the flailing euro zone economy, and could begin buying the bonds early next year.
ECB Governing Council member Luc Coene told Belgian media there were no concrete plans for corporate bond purchases, but said this could be a way to prevent the bank from paying too much for just covered bonds and asset backed securities.
More on foreign exchange.