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All eyes on the European Central Bank

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Pound Sterling

Although several pieces of potentially volatile UK data – including industrial production and manufacturing production figures – are scheduled for release this morning the Pound experienced little movement as European markets opened. With investors waiting for future Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney to testify to UK lawmakers later today Sterling held within 0.9 per cent of a 15-month low against the Euro and was little changed against the US Dollar. The European Central Bank rate decision is also likely to trigger significant fluctuations.

US Dollar

Speculation regarding the outcome of this afternoon’s ECB rate decision triggered a bout of risk aversion in the marketplace yesterday, allowing the ‘Greenback’ to post modest gains against its higher-yielding currency rivals. Today movement in the US Dollar is likely to occur in response to European developments and this afternoon’s US unemployment claims data, a key indicator and one which is expected to show slight improvement from last week.

The Euro

Prior to the announcement of today’s volatile European Central Bank rate decision the Euro dropped to within sight of a week low against safe-haven rival the US Dollar. The current political upheaval in Spain and Italy, combined with concerns regarding the ECB’s possible stance on the extent of economic recovery and the strength of the common currency, caused the Euro to shed 0.5 per cent against the ‘Greenback’. Economists are forecasting that the ECB will hold rates at their present level of 0.75 per cent.

Australian Dollar

With Australian employment data doing little to allay fears that the Reserve Bank will implement further monetary easing the ‘Aussie’ experienced fluctuations against the majority of its most traded peers yesterday, eventually brushing a 12-week low against the US Dollar. The employment data showed that while part-time employment rose, the number of full-time jobs decreased – a slightly better result than forecast but not a strong enough indication of improvement to deter the RBA from altering policy in the near future.

New Zealand Dollar

Despite expectations for a modest gain the most recent data has shown that employment in New Zealand actually dropped by 1 per cent, with the participation rate hitting the lowest for eight years. The disappointing result caused the ‘Kiwi’ to drop against several of its most traded peers, notably falling from a two and a half year high against its Australian currency rival.

Canadian Dollar

The Canadian Dollar made modest progress against its American counterpart yesterday as investors looked ahead to influential Canadian data releases. Canadian employment figures are broadly expected to show a sharp easing in job creation in January, whilst today’s housing data is also forecast to disappoint. This, in conjunction with developments in Europe and the US, is likely to cause considerable ‘Loonie’ movement in the days ahead.

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