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Crucial week ahead for the euro

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Pound Sterling

There were mixed results for the UK this morning when it came to economic news. Although a CBI survey predicted the loss of 43,000 jobs within the finance industry over the next few months and the British Retail Consortium reported a 1.2 per cent decline in December shoppers, there was good news for the housing market, with London house prices experiencing their biggest January surge for five years and the Centre of Economics and Business Research forecasting a national increase in house prices of 0.8 per cent this year. These pieces of data may trigger movement in the Pound as the morning progresses, but the main cause of market volatility today will be this afternoon’s meeting of Eurozone finance ministers.

US Dollar

As speculation regarding the Bank of Japan taking steps towards increasing inflation this week mounted the US Dollar rose against its safe-haven rival. The ‘Greenback’ was able to achieve a 31-month high against the Japanese Yen at the close of last week, dropping slightly before the end of trade. The US Dollar also posted gains against its Australian counterpart on the back of disappointing Chinese data. With the US enjoying a bank holiday no economic indicators for the nation will be released today, but movement in the American currency could follow developments in the Eurozone.

The Euro

The Euro turned bearish on Friday as rising fears of a global economic slowdown turned investors away from riskier assets. Significant volatility in the common currency can be expected this week in light of influential economic news for the Eurozone, including today’s gathering of Eurozone finance ministers, Wednesday’s consumer confidence figures for the currency bloc and Thursday’s PMI data.

Australian Dollar

For a second day the Australian Dollar posted declines against the Japanese Yen. After hitting a four-year high against the safe-haven currency last week the ‘Aussie’ has been steadily retreating in response to disappointing Asian news and the expectation that an inflation report for the South Pacific nation may inspire additional interest-rate cuts. Although little changed against the US Dollar the ‘Aussie’ shed 0.6 per cent against the Japanese Yen.

New Zealand Dollar

In recent days an absence of economic news for New Zealand has seen the ‘Kiwi’ fluctuate as a result of global economic developments, specifically the uncertainty surrounding the Bank of Japan and the stimulus it may or may not introduce at the end of its two-day policy meeting. As the gains in Asian stocks were brought to an abrupt halt the ‘Kiwi’ fell to a two-week low against the Japanese Yen. In the week ahead the key pieces of economic data for New Zealand include a performance of manufacturing index for December and credit card spending figures.

Canadian Dollar

Despite positive Canadian data the ‘Loonie’ closed trade on Friday lower than it began. The Canadian Dollar declined by 0.43 of a cent despite a better-than-forecast 1.7 per cent increase in manufacturing sales. Gains in the commodity driven ‘Loonie’ were prevented from occurring by data which revealed that the Chinese economy expanded by the least for close to twenty years in 2012. This week investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s Bank of Canada rate decision.