The ‘Aussie’ extended last week’s gains after investors maintained their bets that the Central Bank will increase interest rates within a year as the economy improves. Gains were tempered however due to the release of data which showed that manufacturing softened for a fifth consecutive month in China, Australia’s biggest trading partner.
The Pound made its biggest decline in four-months against the US Dollar over the weekend as investors saw the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve give diverging signals on interest rates. Sterling could recover ground if today’s mortgage approval data comes in strongly and if tomorrow’s inflation data comes in positively.
The US Dollar remains supported against a number of peers by last week’s comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen who hinted that an interest rate hike could come six months after the Central Bank ends its monetary easing programme.
The Euro strengthened early in the session after data showed that manufacturing activity in France expanded at its fastest pace since June 2011 this month. The strong data eased concerns over the economic outlook of the Eurozone’s second-largest economy. Gains were limited however as a PMI report out of Germany disappointed the markets.
New Zealand Dollar
The New Zealand Dollar weakened against a number of peers following the release of the disappointing manufacturing data out of China. The weaker than expected PMI raised concerns that the world’s second largest economy is slowing down.
The Canadian Dollar climbed from its lowest level in four-and-a half-years over the weekend as last week’s positive inflation and retail sales data offered support and dampened expectations that the Bank of Canada will cut interest rates.
South African Rand
The Rand was holding steady against the Pound and other peers but is unlikely to make gains due to the data release from China. With a lack of domestic data due for release until later in the week the Rand will find direction from events occurring in the global markets. With tensions rising in Ukraine once again we could see emerging market currencies take a knock yet again.