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UK economy edging forward

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Pound Sterling

The Pound reversed some of its losses against the US Dollar after the latest retail sales figures for October bolstered the chances of a sustained economic recovery in the UK. The Pound rose by 0.3% edging upwards towards last week’s high of $1.614. The data showed that retail sales jumped +30 from +6 in September, far surpassing economists’ expectations for a +7 increase. Investors were buoyed by the data and have grown more confident that the Bank of England will not implement an increase to its quantitative easing programme.

Against the Euro, Sterling fell as the single currency was boosted by good demand at an auction of Italian debt and after data showed that Spain’s economy contracted slightly less than expected in the third quarter.

US Dollar

The ‘Greenback’ has weakened against most of its major peers on speculation that tomorrows data reports out of China will show an improvement in Chinese manufacturing, brightening the global outlook and damping demand for haven assets. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy weakened the Dollar further due to lower volumes of trade after the New York stock exchange remained shut for a second day. The Dollar could see an increase tomorrow with the release of a plethora of US economic data which is likely to show that the US economy has continued on the right track to recovery.

The Euro

The Euro continues to make gains against its major counterparts due to data showing that Spain’s central government budget deficit narrowed in September and the nation’s GDP shrank by a smaller margin than was predicted. The better-than-expected data is likely to take some pressure off of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to ask for a full sovereign bailout from the European Central Bank. The Euro could weaken later today after numerous data releases are due this afternoon with many expected to show that the Eurozone has declined in the third quarter.

Australian Dollar

The ‘Aussie’ continues to be strong against most of its counterparts after data showing better-than-expected building approvals for the nation boosted demand. The currency is expected to make further gains ahead of tomorrow’s data releases from China. Australia’s biggest trading partner is expected to show an improvement in manufacturing and exports. Traders also reduced bets that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates at its next meeting.

New Zealand Dollar

The ‘Kiwi’ has followed its Australian counterpart in trading upwards against the majority of its most traded peers. The country benefitted from improved building approvals and the improving outlook from China. Building approvals in New Zealand increased 7.8 percent in September from August, economists had been predicting a 3% advance.

Canadian Dollar

The ‘Loonie’ strengthened against the US Dollar, ending its five-day losing streak after manufacturers’ prices rose for the first time since April due to Hurricane Sandy battering the Eastern United States. The Canadian Dollar gained along with global stocks and oil on increased risk appetite.

South African Rand

The Rand remains holding steady against the US Dollar, but is expected to come under pressure from what traders are expecting to be a sharply wider trade deficit than predicted. The deficit was not helped by the months of labour strikes in the nation’s profitable mining industry.

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