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South African Rand
The Rand is on course to reach a weekly high against the US Dollar as global risk sentiment improved and as investors look ahead to today’s interest rate decision. With the Rand’s recovery odds have increased that the South African Central Bank will choose to leave rates unchanged.
The Pound is trading at its highest level in two-weeks against the Euro due to the release of weak Euro data and comments by ECB policy makers. Sterling found support from comments by Bank of England policy maker Martin Weale who said that he expects interest rates to rise as the UK economy continues to strengthen. Investors are now looking ahead to today’s UK retail sales data which are forecast to show improvement for February.
The US Dollar firmed against the Pound and Euro following comments by Federal Reserve policymaker Charles Plosser who predicts that unemployment in the USA will drop to 6% by the end of this year and added that the Fed’s quantitative easing programme will end by the autumn. Today’s jobless claims and GDP growth data is expected to provide the currency with further support this afternoon.
The Euro weakened against the majority of its peers as traders weighed up the possibility that the European Central Bank could soon introduce monetary stimulus to aid the region’s flagging economy. Falling confidence and the ongoing standoff between the West and Russia over Ukraine are also weighing upon the single currency.
The ‘Aussie’ continued to rise and hit its highest level in 11-months as investors grew more optimistic over the strength of the Australian economy. The currency continued its run of gains after finding support from yesterday’s positive comments by RBA Governor Glenn Stevens.
New Zealand Dollar
The New Zealand Dollar also pushed higher against its peers after it was boosted by official data which showed that the nation’s trade surplus expanded to NZ$818 million in February, a big increase from the previous figure of NZ$286 million.
The Canadian Dollar firmed against several major peers due to a rise in risk sentiment and as commodity prices rose. The negative data out of China over the past few weeks became a positive for riskier assets as investors raised their bets that it will spur the Chinese authorities into introducing easing measures.