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Italy's troubles weigh down on Euro

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Pound Sterling

The Pound fell to a two-and-a-half year low against the US Dollar on Friday after strong US jobs data boosted confidence that the US economy is making a strong recovery.

Today, Sterling has snapped its three-day decline against the ‘Greenback’ after data showed that UK employment and business confidence improved in February. The currency is also little changed against the Euro after employment confidence rose to minus 44, up from minus 45 in January.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ is approaching its strongest level since 2009 against the Japanese Yen as signs of a strengthening recovery in the USA boosted demand for the American currency.

US retail sales increased by 0.5% in February and employers added 236,000 jobs, pushing the unemployment level down to a four-year low of 7.7%.

The Euro

The Euro weakened against the Pound after the credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Italy’s sovereign credit rating from A- to BBB+. The Italian economy contracted by -2.7% in 2012, its Unemployment Rate hit an all-time record high of 11.7% in January, it owes around €2 trillion of public debt, and to make matters worse it does not have a stable government to steer it down the path of fiscal consolidation.

The single currency fell to a three-month low against the US Dollar as the news damaged risk appetite.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ has weakened due to traders flooding back to the US Dollar after the release of positive economic data out of the world’s largest economy. Also weighing upon the currency was the release of data out of China which showed that factory output had its slowest start to a year since 2009, dampening the outlook for Australia’s commodity exports.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ weakened against a number of its counterparts due to the rising strength of the US Dollar and the continuing impact of a drought upon the small nation’s dairy industry. The drought has created fears that it could lead to a loss of a billion Dollars from production.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ edged upwards against the US Dollar on Friday after the Canadian trade deficit narrowed more-than-expected. The currency also saw support after the country posted a four-year low for the number of people out of work.

South African Rand

The Rand is expected to stay under pressure this week if tomorrow’s current account data release shows a worse-than-expected figure. Sluggish growth and widening current account and budget deficits have dented investor confidence in South Africa’s economy. In addition to current account data, manufacturing production and retail sales figures are also due this week.

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