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Pound Sterling

The Pound has strengthened against the US Dollar ahead of the release of a report that economists predict will show that mortgage approvals rose last month; as a result Sterling is set for its first solid rise against the US currency for the first time in four weeks. Mortgage approvals are set to rise to 32,000 in October up from 31,175 a month earlier. The Pound gained by 0.2% against the Dollar.

US Dollar

Risk taking among investors following the release of positive international economic data caused a mixed day for the US Dollar yesterday. The ‘Greenback’ strengthened against the Japanese Yen but weakened against the Euro and Pound. Today, a lack of economic news out of the US means that any Dollar volatility will likely come as a result of international data.

The Euro

The Euro has strengthened to its highest level since November 2nd and hit a two-week high against the US Dollar after an industry report signalled that China’s manufacturing expanded in November, adding to evidence that the world’s second-largest economy is recovering at a quicker pace.

The single currency increased against 16 of its most traded peers after the latest purchasing manufactures indexes showed that the Euro zone contracted at a slower pace than predicted.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ remained trading upwards as the currency continued to ride the crest of optimism generated by yesterday’s Chinese economic data. Economic strength in China, Australia's biggest trading partner, would also reduce the likelihood of a further cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia, economists said.

The RBA left interest rates on hold in November, saying the world economy was starting to show signs of improvement.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ was relatively unchanged because of thin trading due to holidays in the US and Japan. The better-than-expected Chinese economic data saw the currency rise against the majority of its most traded peers. The markets are taking a wait-and-see approach for the outcome of Monday’s European leaders meeting on the situation for Greece and the EU budget.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ has declined against the US Dollar as retail sales out of the country were weaker-than-expected, lessening the currency’s appeal. The currency also declined against the majority of its most-traded peers. Retail sales increased by 0.1% its third consecutive gain as increases in car sales was offset by declines at department stores and petrol stations. Economists were predicting an increase of 0.5%.

South African Rand

The Rand has firmed slightly after the nation’s Central Bank kept its rates at 5.0% as expected. The currency immediately firmed after the announcement, slightly reversing the losses it suffered yesterday. The currency is still trading at a three year low against the US Dollar and remains highly volatile with the possibility of workers strikes still high.