World equity markets seesawed on Wednesday as investor hopes for a pickup in business activity were weighed against downbeat economic data and low fuel demand highlighted by a rise in US crude stockpiles to three-year highs.
The safe-haven Japanese yen and dollar rose on data showing US private payrolls tumbled to a record 20.2 million in April, German industrial orders fell at a record pace in March and British construction activity fell to an all-time low last month.
The dollar index rose 0.279 per cent, with the euro down 0.3 per cent to $1.0805. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.54 per cent versus the greenback at 106.05 per dollar.
Retail sales in the euro zone also suffered their largest decline on record in March.
Demand has collapsed globally and many investors see the prospect of a swift recovery difficult.