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Sterling hits 18 month high

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Pound Sterling

Prior to this morning’s release of BBA Loans for House Purchase figures – which are expected to reveal that UK bank lending for home purchases increased last month – Sterling experienced little movement against the Euro and US Dollar. However, amid speculative reports regarding the Bank of Japan upping stimulus measures the Pound was able to achieve an eighteen-month high against the safe-haven Japanese Yen. Further fluctuations in the British currency could occur today as a result of developments in the US and Japan.

US Dollar

The Greenback lost out against higher-yielding currencies yesterday as the increasing likelihood that US lawmakers will reach an accord which would allow them to bypass the ‘fiscal cliff’ encouraged risk taking in the marketplace. Less secure assets were also pushed higher against the US Dollar following an improved outlook for the US housing market. With the Christmas break over and budget negotiations resuming the American currency can expect to experience severe volatility today. Fluctuations could also result from the release of several key pieces of economic data including US Unemployment Claims, CB Consumer Confidence and New Home Sales. Any better-than-anticipated results could cause the safe-haven US Dollar to fall further against its riskier rivals.

The Euro

Positive developments in the US led to an improved outlook for global economic recovery and increased demand for higher-risk currencies like the Euro. As a result the Euro was able to gain on several of its major counterparts, notably trading as high as 1.3253 against the US Dollar. A lack of economic news for the Eurozone today means that fluctuations in the common currency are likely to result from the restarted ‘fiscal-cliff’ discussions in the US.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ declined against all of its most traded competitors today as US lawmakers ready themselves for resuming essential budget negotiations. As Congress and US President Barack Obama attempt to reach an agreement which would prevent next year’s series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts the Australian Dollar is poised for its most significant monthly decline against the ‘Greenback’ since August. News from the US could cause the South Pacific currency movement over the course of trade today.

New Zealand Dollar

After hitting its lowest level for a month against the ‘Greenback’ yesterday the ‘Kiwi’ was unchanged as investors await the outcome of today’s round of budget negotiations in the US. Volatility in the New Zealand Dollar will be limited in the hours ahead due to a lack of economic statistics for the South Pacific nation; however any news from the US could cause movement. Similarly, data releases from Japan, one of New Zealand’s main trading partners, could trigger fluctuations over the course of trade today.

Canadian Dollar

Prior to the Christmas break the Canadian Dollar was able to close trade higher than it began despite a drop in the commodity March copper. On Monday the Canadian currency gained 0.22 of a US cent against its American rival, closing at 100.88 US cents. The restarting US federal budget negotiations will be the main cause of movement in the ‘Loonie’ today.