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Japanese elections weighing on Yen

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Pound Sterling

The Pound is little changed against the Euro after halting a two-day advance ahead of a report that economists said will show UK manufacturing orders dropped to a slower pace in November. Factory orders rose to -20 from -23 in the previous month. Against the US Dollar the Pound reached a two-week high on the back of the positive data. The currency was also helped by the Bank of England announcing that further monetary easing is unlikely in the near term.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ hit a fresh 7 ½ month high against the Japanese Yen due to speculation that the upcoming Japanese elections will weigh down the Japanese currency. Increased demand for riskier assets has seen ‘Cable’ weaken against the Pound and Euro. There is no new market data due for release out of the USA today due to the Thanksgiving holiday and any Dollar movement is likely to be a result of news emerging out of the Eurozone.

The Euro

The Euro has risen against most of its 16 major counterparts before finance ministers from the 17-nation currency bloc resume their talks on giving further aid to Greece next week. The single currency strengthened against the US Dollar and hit a seven-month high against the Japanese Yen after economists predicted that the opposition party will win the nations upcoming election. Euro-area finance ministers said a further meeting on Greece had been arranged for November the 26th and that only technical problems are holding up a deal.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ is trading upwards after being buoyed by news of an improvement in the pace of manufacturing in China in November. The Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index showed that activity rose to 50.4 in November compared with October’s reading of 49.5. The strength of the Chinese data also helped the ‘Aussie’ after economists lowered their prediction of a further cut in the nation’s interest rates.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ is also trading upwards thanks to the strong Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index. The preliminary November reading marks the first time in 13 months that the index has been in expansionary territory, signalling growth for the nation's manufacturing sector. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ is trading slightly higher against the majority of its peers as traders focus on Greece and the continuing instability in the Eurozone. The commodity based currency was also supported by positive data emerging out of the United States; the U.S. Labour Department said jobless benefit applications fell by 41,000 to 410,000 last week. The increase in the price of crude oil and gold also supported the currency.

South African Rand

The Rand slipped to its lowest level in 3 ½ years against the US Dollar yesterday as investors lost faith in the country’s near-term prospects. Inflation is expected to rise to 5.6% which is far higher than the Reserve Bank’s target of 3%. This is expected to cause the Bank to cut its key lending rate at its next meeting due to be held next Thursday. The nation’s economic situation is not looking too good with the South African economy now expected to expand just 2.5% this year, according to the finance ministry, down from 3.1% last year, and over a quarter of the workforce is out of a job.

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