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Pound Sterling

The Pound slipped against the US Dollar late yesterday and could make further losses today as worries about the negotiations for the ‘fiscal cliff’ dampens demand for riskier assets. The markets are concerned that the Republicans and Democrats will struggle to make an agreement which could lead to a derailment of the US economic recovery and seriously harm global growth. Lingering concerns about a weak UK economy have also proven to be a drag on the currency. As a result Sterling slipped below the important 1.60 mark and well below the three-week high it posted on Tuesday.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ has made significant gains against most of its higher-yielding rivals due to fears over the stalling negotiations on the ‘fiscal cliff’ issue. Against the Canadian Dollar, ‘Cable’ gained more than 20 pips during European trading.

Today Dollar traders should be aware of the latest US Prelim GDP and Unemployment claims figures. If either of the figures comes in worse-than-expected then we can expect some market volatility, and if the data comes in as expected or better, then the safe-haven Dollar will lose some of yesterday’s gains as risk appetite improves.

The Euro

The Euro took heavy losses against the safe-haven currencies of the Japanese Yen and US Dollar as uncertainties over the recent Greek bailout agreement and the worries over the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations led to risk aversion amongst traders. The losses against the Yen led to a one-week low.

Today Euro traders should pay attention to the outcome of the latest 10-year Italian bond auction. If the auction shows that the struggling nation’s cost of borrowing has gone up then the Euro will extend its losses.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ has weakened against the US Dollar as new economic data revealed that corporate spending had lessened, leading to increased bets that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates at its next meeting. Concern over the situation in the USA and Europe also dragged downwards on the currency.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ has edged upwards slightly after the nation’s latest business outlook survey revealed that over a quarter of businesses expect economic conditions to improve over the next 12 months. A strong showing at the bond markets also buoyed up the currency.

Canadian Dollar

Yesterday the Canadian currency hit a weekly low before recovering. The ‘Loonie’ was trading slightly upwards against the US Dollar as Canadian traders were optimistic that a deal can be reached in time for the US ‘fiscal cliff’. Comments from US President Barrack Obama and top Republicans hinted that a deal was possible if both sides gave concessions.

South African Rand

The Rand has steadied against the majority of its major peers including the US Dollar despite a week of worse-than-expected economic and domestic data. Investors have been paying attention to a speech made by the Reserve Bank’s governor Gill Marcus to the nation’s unions. Analysts believe South Africa is already struggling with unemployment of over 25%. But Statistics SA recently said unemployment rates in South Africa stands at 29%. Hopes are growing that she will discuss the introduction of a living wage, the introduction of which would go a long way to stabilising the country’s troubled labour market.

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