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The Pound plumets as Greenback rises

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Pound Sterling

The Pound has dropped to a two-and-a-half year low against the US Dollar and has weakened for a third-day against the Euro as investors await the outcome of the Bank of England’s policy meeting. The market is waiting to hear whether the Bank will add more stimuli to the UK economy in an effort to boost growth. Sterling has also been weighed down by reports that Chancellor George Osborne is considering granting the Central Bank more time to bring inflation back down to its 2% target.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ is hovering close to its highest-level in six-and-a-half months against a basket of currencies due to solid job data fuelling hopes that the US labour market is making a sustained recovery, which is one of the key conditions needed for the Federal Reserve to end its huge stimulus programme. Private-employers created 198,000 in February, beating economist expectations and have raised hopes that Friday’s non-farm payrolls data will further bolster confidence in the world’s biggest economy.

The Euro

The Euro has recovered from a three-month low against the US Dollar ahead of today’s European Central Bank policy meeting. Economists are expecting the ECB to maintain the current interest rate at the record low level of 0.75%. The single currency also benefited from an increase in Portugal’s credit rating. The credit ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s raised the country’s rating from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ has weakened after Australia posted a bigger-than-expected trade deficit for January. The Oceanic country posted a seasonally adjusted deficit of $1.06 billion in January compared with the $688 million recorded in December 2012. Economists had been predicting a shortfall of just $500 million. It is Australia's 13th consecutive monthly trade deficit.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ followed its Australian counterpart downward due to a stronger US Dollar and growing concerns about the impact of the drought impacting the north island. On Wednesday, the official drought zones were extended and now include five regions in New Zealand's North Island. Profits from sheep and beef farms are expected to halve this season as the drought weighs on farm revenues.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ continues its weak performance as Canada’s poor trade outlook and weaker housing market caused investors and speculators to look elsewhere. The Canadian Dollar was also weighed down by a worse-than-expected Ivey Purchasing Manager Index. The PMI expanded at a slower rate than expected in February falling to 51.1, down from the 58.9 reading recorded in January. A figure above 50 indicates expansion, below indicates contraction.

South African Rand

The Rand is holding steady against the US Dollar but is hovering close to its yearly low level of R9.16. South Africa’s widening trade and budget deficits are combining with a stronger Dollar and leaving the Rand on the back foot. The latest Business Confidence Index is due to be released later today and will dictate which way the currency goes.

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