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Pound Sterling

The Pound strengthened against the Euro yesterday after the Netherlands revealed that its budget deficit will breach the European Union’s limit this year and in 2014. Continuing worries over Spain’s economy also weighed the single currency down against Sterling. The British currency strengthened upwards to around the 1.16 mark.

Today, Sterling could suffer from volatility as the markets await the release of the UK’s latest Purchasing Manager Index for manufacturing. House price rises in the UK gave the currency some support after they increased by 0.2% in February.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ has weakened slightly after the world’s largest economy posted GDP figures that failed to impress investors. The world’s largest economy posted growth of just 0.1%; economists had been predicting a rise of 0.5%.

Today sees the beginning of the ‘sequestration’ budget cuts which has dampened demand for the US currency as traders wait and see what the impacts will be.

The Euro

The Euro has steadied against the US Dollar but remains volatile due to uncertainty from the outcome of the Italian elections and the announcement from the Netherlands that it will miss its target for lowering its budget deficit. In February the single currency slid by 4% against the US Dollar, its biggest monthly slide in nine months.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ has weakened against the US Dollar and a number of its peers after Australia’s biggest trade partner, China, posted its latest PMI data. Manufacturing activity in the Asian economy slowed by a larger margin than expected, dampening interest in the ‘Aussie’. China's official PMI for February was 50.1, compared with 50.4 in January, and undershooting economists' expectations of 50.5.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ fell against the US Dollar due to weaker-than-expected manufacturing data out of China. Demand for the New Zealand currency is still dampened due to low demand for riskier assets as investors remain uncertain over the outcome of the Italian elections and the growing concerns that the Euro crisis is set to return in force.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ fell to an eight-month low against its US relation due to a decline in the price of commodity’s and expectations that the budget cuts due to take effect in the US will harm trade. Today, Statistics Canada is set to release GDP data which is expected to show that the Canadian economy grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2012.

South African Rand

The Rand fell to a one-month low against the US Dollar and breached the key R9.0 level after the currency was weighed down by data showing that the South African trade deficit widened to a record level. The trade numbers came the day after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget which projected a wider-than-expected fiscal deficit. Combined with a wide current account deficit, the Rand will remain under pressure.

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