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The ‘Aussie’ climbs

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Forex update

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ jumped higher against the majority of its most traded peers after it found support from strong domestic data. Retail sales in Australia rose by 1.2% in January, beating expectations for a 0.5% gain. Retail sales in December were revised up to a 0.7% increase from a previously estimated 0.5% rise. A separate report showed that the nation’s trade surplus expanded far more than economists had predicted. The surplus rose to $1.43 billion in January, far higher than the forecast $0.47 billion.

Pound Sterling

The Pound found support against a number of peers due to the release of data which showed that UK house price growth accelerated last month by the fastest pace in close to five years. The data supported the nation’s economic recovery but did little to convince investors that the Bank of England will raise interest rates from the record low level of 0.5% at today’s policy meeting.

US Dollar

The US Dollar was weaker against most of its peers after the release of the Institute of Supply Managements services purchasing managers index which fell to a 43-month low in February. The employment index also dropped sharply, raising concerns that the world’s largest economy is slowing down.

The Euro

The Euro is little changed against the US Dollar and Pound as investors remain cautious ahead of today’s European Central Bank policy meeting. Speculation is high that the ECB could tighten monetary policy in an effort to stave off the threat of deflation. The ECB is expected to hold off cutting interest rates but is expected to take other steps to tighten policy due to ongoing concerns over the subdued inflation outlook for the Euro area.

New Zealand Dollar

The New Zealand Dollar climbed beyond a four-month high against the US Dollar after the US currency was weakened by disappointing economic data yesterday.

Canadian Dollar

The Canadian Dollar strengthened to a session high against its US relation after the Bank of Canada kept interest rates at 1% and data showed that the nation’s economy expanded more-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.

South African Rand

The Rand remains under pressure against its peers due to the ongoing uncertainty over Ukraine and as a strike in South Africa’s Platinum mining sector looks set to continue after the mining companies refused the demands of striking miners.