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Rand tumbles ahead of today's state of the nation address

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South African Rand

The Rand fell against its peers as investors grew nervous ahead of today’s State of the Nation address due to be held by South African President Jacob Zuma. Tensions between the ruling ANC party and its rival the Democratic Alliance have been rising in recent months and the aggressive standoff between supporters of both parties in Johannesburg yesterday will do little to ease investor nerves.

Pound Sterling

The Pound snapped its three days worth of gains against the Euro after a house-price index released by the Royal Institution declined, strengthening the case for the Bank of England to maintain interest rates at the record low level of 0.5%. Yesterday saw the Pound push beyond the 1.22 mark against the Euro and 1.66 against the US Dollar after the Bank of England increased its growth forecast for the UK economy.

US Dollar

The US Dollar fell to a two-week low against the Pound and remains under pressure ahead of the release of retail sales data which is expected to show that sales stagnated in January. Recent weak jobs reports have raised concerns over whether the U.S. recovery lost its momentum at the end of last year.

The Euro

The Euro tumbled yesterday after European Central Bank Board member Benoit Coeure said that the Central Bank is considering implementing negative deposit rates to stave off the threat of deflation. Against the Pound the single currency plummeted to an eight-week low after the Bank of England said that the UK recovery is picking up speed.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ fell sharply against the majority of its peers due to the release of a weaker than expected employment report. 3700 Australians lost their jobs in January, far worse than the 15,000 new jobs expected by economists. The overall unemployment rate climbed to a ten-year high of 6%.

New Zealand Dollar

The New Zealand Dollar climbed to a two-week high against the Australian Dollar due to the release of worse than expected jobs data out of the bigger Oceanic nation. Against its other peers the ‘Kiwi’ was little changed after a domestic manufacturing index fell in January.

Canadian Dollar

The Canadian Dollar is little moved against most of its peers ahead of the release of house price data. Prices are expected to have fallen in December. If true then the ‘Loonie’ is likely to weaken later in the session.

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